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Is Zimmerman more injury-prone than others?

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Is Zimmerman more injury-prone than others?

The news yesterday that Ryan Zimmerman had arthroscopic surgery to repair the right shoulder sprain that hampered him all season didn't come as much of a surprise. All along, Zimmerman and the Nationals knew offseason surgery was probable.

But it did raise a question that has been posed a few times over the years: Is Zimmerman injury-prone, and is that a concern for the Nationals considering they've got him under contract for seven more seasons and more than $100 million?

To be sure, Zimmerman has dealt with his share of injuries since he was drafted by the Nationals in 2005.

-- He broke the hamate bone in his left wrist following the 2007 season and required surgery to remove it.

-- He spent two months on the disabled list in 2008 with a tear in his left shoulder.

-- A couple of nagging injuries cost him 20 total games in 2010.

-- An abdominal tear in 2011 required surgery and cost him three months.

-- And, of course, there was the sprained AC joint in Zimmerman's right shoulder that plagued him throughout this season.

On the surface, that sounds like a lot, and perhaps cause for concern. But nearly every major-league ballplayer not named Cal Ripken Jr. or Livan Hernandez is going to be sidelined with injuries at some point in his career.

The question is whether Zimmerman is sidelined more than others, particularly those who play his same position.

A more detailed examination of that suggests Zimmerman doesn't appear to be any more injury-prone than most big-league third basemen and has kept himself on the field as much as almost any of his contemporaries.

Since he became a full-time major leaguer at the start of the 2006 season, Zimmerman has played in more games (970) than all but two fellow third basemen: David Wright (1,033) and Adrian Beltre (993).

Of course, plenty of other third basemen in the game today haven't been around as long as Zimmerman, Wright and Beltre. So a more apt exercise would be to compare the average number of games played per season among third basemen.

In that regard, Zimmerman still stacks up well. Among active third basemen who have held down regular jobs for at least three years, Wright leads the way with an average of 149 games per season in his career. Chase Headley (148), Beltre (146), Mark Reynolds (142) and Alberto Callaspo (142) rank second through fifth.

Next up on the list: Zimmerman, whose average of 139 games played during his career is equal to Aramis Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez.

Third basemen who have averaged fewer games per season than Zimmerman: Chipper Jones (138), Pablo Sandoval (132), Chone Figgins (129), Evan Longoria (127), Scott Rolen (125) and Placido Polanco (115).

So, what's the final verdict? Is Zimmerman injury-prone? It doesn't appear he is any more than the typical big-league third baseman. That doesn't mean he might suffer more debilitating injuries over the rest of his career, and perhaps the long-suggested thought of a switch to first base could become reality at some point down the road.

But at this stage, Zimmerman has managed to keep himself on the field commensurate with most third basemen. And we've certainly seen how good of a ballplayer he is when he's been on the field.

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Nationals trade Danny Espinosa to Angels for two minor league pitchers

Nationals trade Danny Espinosa to Angels for two minor league pitchers

WASHINGTON -- The Los Angeles Angels have acquired shortstop Danny Espinosa from the Washington Nationals for two minor league pitchers.

The Angels sent right-handers Austin Adams and Kyle McGowin to the Nationals on Saturday night for Espinosa, who presumably lost his starting job when Washington obtained outfielder Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

Washington traded three top pitching prospects to Chicago for Eaton, with the intention of shifting NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Trea Turner from center field back to his natural shortstop position.

The 29-year-old Espinosa hit .209 with a career-high 24 home runs and 72 RBIs as Washington's starting shortstop last season. In seven major league seasons he has batted .226 with 92 home runs and 285 RBIs.

McGowin was ranked as the Angels' 20th-best prospect.

MORE NATIONALS: Harper's 'Wow' tweet could mean a lot of things

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Bryce Harper sends 'Wow' tweet after Nationals trade for Adam Eaton

Bryce Harper sends 'Wow' tweet after Nationals trade for Adam Eaton

Nationals star Bryce Harper has had an eventful week, which included finding out that he might not be the Nationals star much longer. 

An anonymous club executive said that the Nationals won't meet Harper's demands for a 10-year, $400 million contract, and are prepared to let him walk when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season. 

That happened on Monday, then on Tuesday Washington missed out on trading from White Sox ace Chris Sale, who ended up going to Boston. 

And then on Wednesday, the Nats ended up trading their pile of top pitching prospects to the White Sox anyway, but instead of getting Sale, they got centerfielder Adam Eaton

Eaton, 28, has never been an All-Star. But he finished last season with a .284 batting average, .362 slugging percentage, 59 RBIs and 14 home runs. He's also an asset defensively in the outfield. 

But the pitching prospects Washington gave up – Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning – amounted to a steep price for Eaton. So steep that the Nats reportedly offered almost the same package of prospects for Sale. 

Within minutes of the Eaton trade news breaking, Harper tweeted this. 

He followed it up with a message of welcome a few minutes later.

Obviously, the initial tweet is what grabbed peoples' attention. But who can really say if Harper meant it as a positive or negative reaction to the Eaton trade? Frankly, it might not have anything to do with the trade at all. 

Plenty of other "wow" things happened this week. 

MORE NATIONALS: Dusty Baker takes part in “Play Ball” clinics in D.C.