Zimmerman to IL (plantar fasciitis); Fedde up

Rendon sits again with bruised elbow

April 29th, 2019

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals placed first baseman on the 10-day injured list on Sunday afternoon with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, the latest in a long list of injuries that have ravaged the second half of his career.

Zimmerman landed awkwardly on his foot while making a leaping catch at first base Tuesday night in Colorado, but after sitting Wednesday, he played both Friday and Saturday against the Padres. Following Saturday’s game, however, the discomfort in Zimmerman’s foot got worse, and an MRI Sunday morning revealed inflammation and the injury.

was promoted from Triple-A Fresno to take his spot on the roster and provide some length in the bullpen, with Jeremy Hellickson starting in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against San Diego. Fedde made an immediate impact, tossing 4 scoreless innings in the Nationals' 7-6 win.

Zimmerman, 34, had been off to a slow start this season, posting a .676 OPS with three home runs in 22 games. He has traditionally been a bit of a slow starter at the plate, and the Nats have confidence he will rebound as the weather gets warmer.

Plantar fasciitis is a tricky injury to manage, however, and the effects can linger for months. Zimmerman battled the injury in his left foot in 2015, and it put him on the injured list for about seven weeks that summer. The Nationals did not place a timeline on Zimmerman’s return.

“We’re going to get him treated and keep him off his feet for 10 days,” manager Dave Martinez said. “It all depends on how quick he heals.”

Without Zimmerman, Matt Adams is likely to get a majority of the playing time at first base, where he started on Sunday, batting fifth. The Nats normally like to limit Adams’ at-bats against left-handed pitchers, considering his .613 career OPS against southpaws. It's possible they could use at first base to create a platoon, but Kendrick is starting at third base while remains sidelined with a bruised left elbow. Adams provided the decisive blow on Sunday, belting a walk-off HR in the 11th inning.

This marks yet another season interrupted by injuries for Zimmerman. Since 2013, he has played in more than 100 games only twice (115 games in ’16 and 144 games in ’17). Zimmerman has remained a productive hitter during that span, with a 107 OPS+ while averaging 17 home runs per year, but he has also found himself unable to remain on the field consistently.

Rendon out of lineup Sunday

Rendon was out of the starting lineup for the sixth time in seven games on Sunday, still dealing with a bruised left elbow after getting hit by a pitch last Saturday in Miami. He returned to the lineup Friday night, but after going 0-for-3 and getting hit by another pitch on the left quad, his elbow swelled back up and he has continued to feel discomfort when extending the elbow to swing.

It should force the Nationals to make a decision soon. They have been playing with a short bench for most of the past week, and on Sunday their bench was limited to , and , although Martinez was optimistic Rendon might be available to pinch-hit. That seems unlikely, and if Rendon can not return to the lineup Monday, the Nats might have to make a decision about placing him on the injured list.

“He played a day, and then the next day it swelled back up,” Martinez said. “It’s in a bad, bad spot. You have that little joint right there. He thought he was good, and then he came in the next day and took one swing and his elbow blew up a little bit. We just want to make sure he’s right.”

Rendon’s absence has left the Nationals without their most productive hitter -- a 1.182 OPS and six home runs -- to start the year, and they are currently without 75 percent of their starting infield from Opening Day, with Rendon out, Zimmerman and on the injured list.

It leaves a team that has lost six of eight games facing an uphill battle to rebound.