While on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been taking fly balls in left field for a while now because he wasn’t cleared to throw or hit yet, but yesterday he finally got the go-ahead to swing a bat.
Zimmerman, who’s seven weeks into what was supposed to be a 4-6 week recovery, will soon begin taking swings in a batting cage and off a tee. In other words, he’s still not close to actually rejoining the Nationals’ lineup.
In fact, Nationals manager Matt Williams told Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com that there’s still no official timetable yet for Zimmerman’s return and “we’re going to take it a little slow with the bat because vibration can certainly cause pain, let alone any further damage.”
Toss in Zimmerman’s chronic shoulder problems complicating any potential throwing programs and his overall health remains a big question mark.
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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.