Given the level of play he’s demonstrated on field for much of the 2012 season, it’s been easy to forget that Ryan Zimmerman has been playing hurt nearly all year. Back in April he was diagnosed with a strained AC joint and for the fourth time since the Washington Nationals third baseman received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder prior to Tuesday’s doubleheader. According to CSNWashington.com’s Mark Zuckerman, Zimmerman will likely need to undergo arthroscopic surgery during the offseason to clean up the injury.
Zimmerman received a pair of shots early on this season, shortly after the injury was first diagnosed in April. Neither seemed to help much, as he sputtered to a .218/.285/.305 line with just 3 HR and 22 RBI over the season’s first 55 games. But on June 24th Zimmerman would receive another shot and this time the results were much different. He’s batted .322/.396/.598 since with 19 HR and 62 RBI. The Nationals are 21 games over .500 during that span.
While his production at the plate hasn’t suffered, Zimmerman has continued to deal with a growing discomfort in his shoulder over the past few weeks which is ultimately what prompted the additional shot, according to Zuckerman. He should be able to play pain-free for the remainder of the season and playoffs, but surgery in the offseason seems like a likely certainty at this point in time. It would be a relatively minor procedure, allowing Zimmerman enough time to fully recover before the start of Spring Training in February.
The third baseman has long had injury concerns, but the organization still believed in him enough to award him a significant contract extension prior to the start of the season. Despite the nagging shoulder injury, he’s appeared in 132 of the team’s 148 games on the season to date.