Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will be out four to six weeks after fracturing his right thumb on Saturday night against the Atlanta Braves, per Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com:

James Wagner of The Washington Post reports that Zimmerman jammed the thumb after diving back to second base to avoid getting picked off. Adding insult to injury, he didn’t even get back in time:

The Nats haven’t had any luck this season in regards to injuries, as Zimmerman is now the fourth player the team has sent to the disabled list, per MLB.com’s Andrew Simon:

This injury comes on the heels of Zimmerman dealing with a shoulder injury. Nationals manager Matt Williams described that injury to CBS Washington’s Chris Lingebach:

Williams said he’d mistakenly said ‘arthritic’ two days earlier, at 106.7 The Fan’s Chalk Talk, when he was asked about Zimmerman’s long-term viability playing third base, with a nagging shoulder injury that flares up at random, thus affecting his ability to throw the ball across the diamond.

“Well, I think some clarification probably is in order first,” Williams said Wednesday. “The word ‘arthritis’ kind of gets everybody, and everybody starts to talk about it. It’s more of a ‘degenerative’ issue in his shoulder. He had surgery, they took a piece of bone out some time ago, and it’s more ‘degenerative’ than ‘arthritic.’ As soon as you say ‘arthritic,’ people think that he’s got to get on medication and it’s gonna be a lifelong thing.”

The one positive about Zimmerman’s injury is that it is still very early in the season. Teams never want to lose a player of his caliber at any point, but better now than during the thick of the pennant race in August or September.

With Zimmerman out, more pressure will be heaped upon Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond to deliver offensively. Anthony Rendon will likely get a majority of the playing time at third base, opening up second base for Danny Espinosa. The Nationals have enough talent in the lineup to remain in the thick of the NL East race until their Zimmerman returns.

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