Sports Outside the Beltway

Washington Nationals P Jordan Zimmermann out for the year

The bad news keeps piling up for the worst team in the major leagues.

Jordan Zimmermann will have reconstructive elbow surgery next week, leaving the Washington Nationals without their top pitching prospect for at least a year.

Manager Jim Riggleman said the normal recovery period is 12 to 18 months, a timetable that could keep the 23-year-old Zimmermann out until the 2011 season.

Acting general manager Mike Rizzo said Zimmermann is “as upbeat as you can be” about the surgery, which will be performed on his right elbow by Tommy John expert Dr. Lewis Yocum next Wednesday in California.


Rizzo said the loss of Zimmermann is only a temporary setback to a promising career.

“We foresee a long, successful career for him,” Rizzo said.

Zimmermann was 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA in 16 starts for Washington in his first season above Double-A. He was considered a cornerstone of the team’s long-term rotation.

You have to expect Nats management to spin this as just a temporary setback. In all honesty, this is most likely a disaster for both Zimmerman and the Nationals. Yes pitchers have come back from ‘Tommy John’ surgery but most don’t.

Did the Nationals in an effort to improve their fortunes move Zimmermann along too quickly. We will never know for sure, but I will the statement Baltimore Orioles Manager Earl Weaver once made. “The best place for a young pitcher is long relief.”

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