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Zim, Glover back issues play into loss

After feeling pain earlier in the day, reliever gives up 2-run lead in 9th
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Two key members of the Nationals were revealed to be dealing with back injuries after Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Rangers in 11 innings, although the extent of both injuries is unclear.

First baseman Ryan Zimmerman did not play, as he was still feeling the lingering effects of tweaking his back when he landed awkwardly on a diving play Tuesday night in Los Angeles, although he said the team was just playing it safe. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Zimmerman stayed on the bench while pitcher Joe Ross pinch-hit, striking out to end the game.

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WASHINGTON -- Two key members of the Nationals were revealed to be dealing with back injuries after Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Rangers in 11 innings, although the extent of both injuries is unclear.

First baseman Ryan Zimmerman did not play, as he was still feeling the lingering effects of tweaking his back when he landed awkwardly on a diving play Tuesday night in Los Angeles, although he said the team was just playing it safe. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Zimmerman stayed on the bench while pitcher Joe Ross pinch-hit, striking out to end the game.

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Right-hander Koda Glover said he felt his back lock up on him while showering before Saturday's game, and he did not notify the coaching staff until after he surrendered two runs in the ninth for his first blown save since taking over as the Nationals' closer last month.

Glover and Zimmerman have been two of the Nationals' most productive players this season, but they also have an injury history that has caused the club to watch them closely in order to keep them healthy.

Glover said he felt a nagging pain in his back for the entire day after he tweaked it in the shower, but he tried to push through it, because he did not want to take a day off after not pitching in the past three days. But Glover's pitches were flat, he left the ball up in the zone and the Rangers punished him. Texas scored two runs on three hits in the top of the ninth and erased a two-run deficit. 

"I pushed the limits today, tried to pitch through it," Glover said. "It's one of them things where it was out of my control, and I should have said something early. I didn't, and now my back's in pretty bad shape."

Neither Glover nor manager Dusty Baker were sure whether this injury would land him on the disabled list, but the Nationals cannot afford to play a man short for long. They are in a stretch of 21 consecutive games without an off-day and would likely prefer to add an extra arm to the bullpen and make sure Glover is 100 percent.

It's not the first time Glover has tried to pitch through injury. He pitched through a torn labrum in his hip in 2016, which contributed to a 7.27 ERA in September before he finally said something to the coaching staff and was shut down. He also spent time on the DL earlier this season with a strained hip, and the injuries have started to frustrate him.

"I'm tired of being hurt," Glover said. "Never been hurt before until last year, and ever since then, it just seems like something new keeps popping up every day."

Zimmerman did not sound overly concerned about his injury, which seemed to be more a measure of caution. After tweaking his back on Tuesday, he played again on Wednesday and Friday. Zimmerman is in the midst of a resurgent season that he has attributed largely to being healthy for the first time in years, so since the pain has not completely subsided, he figured it was best to sit for a few days and get back to 100 percent.

"Just one of those things where knowing what I've known in the past if you continue to play and it gets worse, then something bad happens," Zimmerman said. "But if you give it a day or two, then you can kind of just stop it right there. And that's sort of the plan since it's June. And we have the ability to do that."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals