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Zimmerman breaks minor bone in hand

According to the Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman broke the hook of hamate bone in his left hand Sunday while swinging a bat.

I just talked to him about the whole thing. The interesting thing: He said though he did it swinging at home in Virginia Beach, the doctors think he may have done it before.

"They think it was just a bunch of wear and tear from the past two or three years from where I might have done it before, and it kind of healed on its own," Zimmerman said. "My hands were bothering me sometimes, but if I'm good enough to play and help the team, I'm going to go out there."

He made it clear he doesn't want it to be portrayed as if he was some kind of hero. The only time his hand bothered him much was maybe the last month or two of the season, and as he pointed out, that's really when he was playing better.

Here's what transpired, in his words.

"I was just hitting with some of my buddies up at my high school. I took a cut, and I didn't really feel a pop or anything. I took one more or two more swings and didn't feel great. That was in the morning. I went home and kind of laid down and was watching TV and actually fell asleep. I woke up and it was a little swollen. I've never really been hurt before, so this was a little different."

He called Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz. Zimmerman then drove from Virginia Beach up to Washington today and had the appointment. He'll see a hand specialist, Dr. Richard Barth, Wednesday and will almost certainly have surgery Wednesday evening at Sibley Hospital in Northwest. They simply extract the bone, which isn't really needed. It's at the base of the wrist, right where, as he explained it, his hand would meet the knob of the bat. (Guys don't choke up anymore, remember?)

He also said it shouldn't mess too much with his offseason preparation.

"To be honest with you, I don't hit that much right now, not even once a week until all the way after Christmas. After Christmas I start hitting a few times a week. The only thing is I'm not going to be able to do a lot of upper body lifting, but I can still ride a bike and things like that. You know, we're really kind of lucky that it happened now. It's just one of those things where it can happen at any time. It's just in a weird place right where you put the bat on your hand, and there's so much force going through there."

Now, Zimmerman won't be able to swing for four-to-six weeks. He also won't be able to participate in his second annual charity golf event, which is scheduled for this weekend down in Virginia Beach. Among those scheduled to be there: Brian Schneider, Austin Kearns, David Wright, Justin and B.J. Upton. Zimmerman will have to ride around in a cart and just greet people. Read more about his charity, the ziMS Foundation, here. It benefits research on multiple sclerosis, which is the disease that has his mother Cheryl in a wheelchair. You might also remember reading about it here, a couple of years ago, when I went down and visited the Zimmermans in Virginia beach.

As for whether this hook of hamate bone injury affected his season, Zimmerman dismissed the thought.

"I think everybody who plays the game of baseball has nagging injuries," he said. "It's just stuff you never get checked out because you can still play. I don't want this to be looked at as some heroic thing. A lot of guys, I'm sure, have played through a broken hamate bone and play with little fractures all the time."

By Barry Svrluga  |  November 6, 2007; 5:42 PM ET
 
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