A foot injury cost Ryan Zimmerman a somewhat significant chunk of the 2015 season due to plantar fasciitis, and MLB.com's William Ladson reported Sunday the Washington Nationals are taking Zimmerman's recovery slowly, with manager Dusty Baker hoping the 31-year-old returns in a few weeks.
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Zimmerman Back to Limited Practice in Spring Training
Sunday, March 6
"It's a cautious approach, knowing I don't need that many at-bats down here to get ready," Zimmerman said, per Ladson. "I would be more worried if I haven't been able to do everything else. I have participated in everything but the running, which I did for the first time [Tuesday], and I feel good today."
Health problems have limited Zimmerman's time on the field over the last two years. He played in 61 games in 2014 and then 95 games a season ago. The frustration for the Nationals is compounded by the fact that he's due at least $62 million until 2020.
The 2009 All-Star's days as a premier corner infielder are gone. His defense has declined, which coupled with his injuries will likely prevent him from ever moving back to third base on a full-time basis.
There's no question Zimmerman can still be a valuable asset in Washington's lineup when healthy. He hit .249 with 16 home runs, 73 runs batted in and a .465 slugging percentage in 2015.
MLB.com's Mike Petriello illustrated how much his plantar fasciitis hindered him at the plate:
Since he's at least working out with the team, Zimmerman's chances of starting for the Nationals on Opening Day look fairly good. They open the season on April 4 on the road against the Atlanta Braves.
In the event Zimmerman is unavailable, Baker can have Tyler Moore or Clint Robinson hold down first base at the start of the regular season until he's healthy enough to return.