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Monday, June 2, 2008

Zim To DL, Casto Up From Minors

You can get the full read here, or here, or here; anyway you slice it (pun intended), this is not good news for the Nationals.

Here were the pearls of wisdom from JimBow (courtesy of Chico Harlan, WaPo):
"I've had players who've had the same injury who took 10 days off, then played
for five years," General Manager Jim Bowden said. "Then I've had some who've been operated on. It can be anywhere in between, and we just don't know yet."
Zimmerman has what's being described as a "small" labrum tear, meaning the mechanism in his shoulder that allows him to swing a baseball bat with authority and without pain is structurally flawed right now. Team orthopaedist Dr. Ben Shaffer (I didn't even have to look it up anymore) is prescribing rest and inflammatories. Zimmerman will be getting at least 15 days rest, since he was placed on the 15-day DL Monday, with Kory Casto getting the call from Columbus.

Casto, 26, who has experience as both an infielder and outfielder, appeared in 16 games last season with Washington, batting .130. With Columbus this season, he's gone .314/.385/.465 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 86 at bats in 21 games. It sounds like he's figured something out this season against Triple-A pitching. One would imagine, though, that Aaron Boone will get the majority of starts at first base, leaving Casto to fulfill the roll Boone had been ably manning, pinch-hitting and spelling Meathook at first in the late innings.

What's not known yet is the real extent of the damage. The results of Zimmerman's MRI were rushed out Monday to all the famous shoulder guys: James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.; Timothy Kremcheck in Cincinnati; and Robert Cofield in Rochester, Minn. If they see something in the test results different than Dr. Shaffer, Zim could be looking at some surgery and more down time than he's ever had in a summer in his entire life.

If you want to do more reading on exactly what we're talking about here, check out this link. It spells it out pretty simply in lay terms. While a labrum tear is almost a death sentence for pitchers, hitters can have good success with rest or surgery. Scott Rolen had the procedure done mid-season in 2005 following a horrific collision at first base with Hee Seop Choi.

But here's the famous Will Carroll article on that details in no uncertain terms what labrum surgery means to pitchers.

We'll keep on top of this as the recommendations come filtering in from the other surgeons. For Zim and the Nats' sakes, hopefully they concur with Dr. Shaffer and think that rest will do the trick.

Photo (c) C. Nichols 2008

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