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Ryan Zimmerman won't return until at least Tuesday with shoulder inflammation.
Ryan Zimmerman missed today's game and will again sit out tomorrow series finale against the Marlins with mild inflammation in his right shoulder, but the Nationals third baseman insists the injury is not serious and won't become a lingering problem.
"It's nothing," Zimmerman said following today's 3-2, 10-inning win. "It's something I could've played through. It was bugging me a little bit, and it'd go away for a couple days. I've just been diving all over the place over there."
Zimmerman was originally in Davey Johnson's starting lineup but had trouble getting loose while taking batting practice earlier today. Johnson was informed about 30 minutes before first pitch.
"Ryan felt confident about it," the manager said. "I was going to give him off tomorrow anyway. He plays hard, and I don't want to wear him too much down."
With a rainout a strong possibility tomorrow and then a day off Monday before the start of a six-game, West Coast trip, Zimmerman could wind up missing only one game.
The 27-year-old third baseman has made a number of diving stops on balls hit both to his left and right already the season, and he believes that contributed to the problem. He has not received an MRI, nor believes he'll need one, and team doctors were able to determine he has "no structural damage in the least," according to a club spokesman.
Zimmerman has dealt with right shoulder problems before; he missed two months in 2008 with a small tear that did not require surgery. He insisted this issue is nothing like that one.
"It's just like a jammed finger, pretty much," he said. "Give it a couple days to rest, it'll go away, and we'll be good to go on Tuesday."
Zimmerman, who in February signed a nine-figure contract extension that guarantees he'll play for the Nationals through at least 2019, has gotten off to a bit of a slow start. Through 15 games he's hitting .224, though he's hit a number of balls hard and on Thursday night clubbed his first home run of the season.
Veteran utilityman Mark DeRosa started in Zimmerman's place today. Johnson indicated either Chad Tracy or Steve Lombardozzi could get the nod at third base tomorrow.