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NATIONALS: Ryan Zimmerman leaves game with shoulder soreness

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman came out of Saturday’s game with shoulder soreness, Nats manager Matt Williams said after the team’s 6-2 home loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Williams said Zimmerman’s shoulder would be evaluated Sunday, and the team was trying to schedule an MRI for Sunday as well.

Zimmerman felt pain after making a throw across the field in the fourth inning.

With two outs and Justin Upton on second, Nats pitcher Stephen Strasburg appeared to get out of the inning by getting shortstop Andrelton Simmons to ground out to third, but Zimmerman’s throw sailed over the head of first baseman Adam LaRoche, which allowed Upton to score.

The next batter, pitcher Julio Teheran, hit a single to score Simmons.

Zimmerman stayed in the game through the end of the fifth inning, but he didn’t come out for the sixth.

“He went to his back hand tonight, threw the ball across the infield and felt pain in his shoulder, so we thought it prudent to get him out of there and make sure that everything is OK,” Williams said. “He’s got shoulder soreness.”

Williams said the shoulder pain was alarming considering Zimmerman’s history with shoulder injuries.

Zimmerman has played through shoulder pain in the past, and he had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder after the 2012 season.

“You want to make sure he’s 100 percent healthy. … He had a little bit of a setback in spring training and got through that. Tonight he felt it again, so we’ll evaluate him tomorrow and see the doc,” Williams said.

LaRoche said it’s hard to watch a teammate go through what Zimmerman has the last few years. There’s the pain, and then there have been the side effects of dealing with a surgically-repaired shoulder — namely errant throws.

“It’s as hard for all of us as it is for him. He’s our captain on this team,” said LaRoche, who provided the team’s only offense Saturday with a home run into the right field upper deck.

“He’s a big piece of it, to say the least. To watch him go through that is frustrating. We’re all behind him and will do whatever we can to help him out. I know it’s eating at him. He’s a guy who’s in the cage when nobody’s around throwing all night long. Nobody wants it worse than he does. He’s put the time in to try to find it.”

Strasburg echoed LaRoche’s concern for Zimmerman. After Zimmerman’s error, Strasburg retired only one of the next seven batters he faced.

The Braves tagged Strasburg for four runs in the go-ahead fifth inning.

“I think just from last year and stuff, I want to make a conscious effort of not letting those things bother me,” Strasburg said of fielding errors. “I really don’t feel like I got out of my game plan or anything. I really feel like I was going out there and giving everything I had and battling, and I just left some pitches up.”


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