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Zimmerman out 4-6 weeks with broken thumb

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will miss four to six weeks after fracturing his right thumb during a 6-3 loss to the Braves on Saturday night at Turner Field. It will mark the fourth consecutive year Zimmerman will be placed on the disabled list, which is expected to happen on Sunday.

With the Braves leading, 4-1, in the fifth inning, Zimmerman hit a one-out double before being picked off by left-hander Alex Wood. Zimmerman argued with second-base umpire Paul Nauert over the call, but to no avail. The Nationals had already lost a challenge.

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ATLANTA -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will miss four to six weeks after fracturing his right thumb during a 6-3 loss to the Braves on Saturday night at Turner Field. It will mark the fourth consecutive year Zimmerman will be placed on the disabled list, which is expected to happen on Sunday.

With the Braves leading, 4-1, in the fifth inning, Zimmerman hit a one-out double before being picked off by left-hander Alex Wood. Zimmerman argued with second-base umpire Paul Nauert over the call, but to no avail. The Nationals had already lost a challenge.

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Zimmerman then looked at his right hand and was slow to get up. He then slowly walked into the dugout and was taken out of the game.

With Zimmerman out, it means that starting second baseman Anthony Rendon will now play every day at third, while Danny Espinosa will be the starting second baseman.

"It's not our first choice, certainly. The fact that they can play multiple positions is good in times like this," manager Matt Williams said. "You certainly don't want to miss someone like Zim for that amount of time, but it is what it is. There is nothing we can do about it now except play."

According to a baseball source, the Nationals are expected to recall infielder Zach Walters from Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday. Ranked by MLB.com as the Nationals' No. 10 prospect, Walters will be a backup and can play multiple positions, including shortstop and second base. While no one has questioned his offense, the Nationals want him to get better defensively. It was one of the reasons he was sent down in Spring Training.

It's only the second week of the regular season, and the Nationals have been hit hard with injuries. Catcher Wilson Ramos is out four to eight weeks because of broken left hamate bone. Right-hander Doug Fister has yet to play a regular-season game because of a lat strain, and Denard Span was placed on the seven-day DL on Saturday because of a concussion.

"It is what it is. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us," Williams said. "[Losing Zimmerman] is a big one, but we don't have a choice. We have to go play, compete and win games. We have to do that starting tomorrow."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Washington Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman