Ryan Zimmerman has been on the disabled list for a month with a hamstring injury and when asked yesterday when the third baseman is expected to return Nationals manager Matt Williams replied “sometime in September.”
Williams also told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com:
When? I don’t know, but sometime in September. I don’t think anything would happen until after [September 1] because he still hasn’t gone the full gamut of tests. And then he would have to have some time to play. The last thing we want is for him to go to early and really do something bad to it. So we have to be sure when he comes back that he’s ready, that there are no limitations, and he can go score from first and play defense and do all the things that he does really well.
There’s only a week or so remaining in the minor-league season, so if Zimmerman wants to go on a rehab assignment before coming off the disabled list he’s running out of time. Williams suggested that simulated games could be an option, so clearly the Nationals aren’t going to rush him back.
Zimmerman has been limited to just 52 games this season due to an assortment of injuries, including his chronic shoulder problems, but when healthy enough to be in the lineup–at third base or in left field–he has hit his usual .282 with an .802 OPS.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.