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Zimmerman undergoes shoulder surgery

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Zimmerman undergoes shoulder surgery

Though he managed to make it through the full season thanks to a series of cortisone shots, Ryan Zimmerman knew all along he might need offseason surgery to repair his ailing right shoulder.

The Nationals third baseman indeed had the procedure, undergoing arthroscopic surgery this morning to repair the AC joint sprain that hampered him throughout 2012.

The surgery, performed by Nationals orthopedist Wiemi Douoguih, will require a six-week recovery process. General manager Mike Rizzo said Zimmerman is expected to be fully healed well in advance of spring training.

The Nationals believe Zimmerman initially sustained the injury in April after making several diving attempts in the field and once while trying to score on a play at the plate. He received a cortisone shot shortly after and spent two weeks on the disabled list to rest the shoulder, but that initial treatment didn't help much.

On the morning of June 24, Zimmerman's batting average stood at .218, his home run total at three and his .590 OPS ranking among the worst in the league. He received another cortisone shot prior to that afternoon's game in Baltimore, and this time the treatment allowed him to turn his season around.

Over his final 90 regular-season games, Zimmerman hit .321 with 22 homers, 73 RBI and a .967 OPS that would have made him the NL's likely MVP had he managed to sustain those numbers over a full 162 games.

Though his offensive game returned, Zimmerman did struggle in the field throughout the season. He committed 19 errors, 12 of them on awkward-looking throws, though it was never clear how much that was a product of the shoulder injury or whether it was a product of the throwing mechanics overhaul Zimmerman underwent the previous year.

Zimmerman did receive one more cortisone shot in September when he began to experience a recurrence of pain and acknowledged at the time he might need surgery once the season ended.

Meanwhile, Chad Tracy also had surgery today on his left knee, another arthroscopic procedure performed by Douoguih. The veteran pinch-hitting specialist was plagued by a groin strain during the season, but his knee issue was never made public.

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Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well, but he won't specify why

Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well, but he won't specify why

Bryce Harper struggled by his standards in 2016 and he says he know why it happened last year. While it was rumored last season that he was playing through injuries, Harper never really missed significant time, nor did he really say that his injuries were the reason for his disappointing numbers. 

Speaking with the media today at spring training, Harper hinted at his injuries from last season as he said he was just trying to stay in the lineup every day.  

Although Harper's statistics dropped off dramatically from his MVP season in 2015, his numbers weren't entirely awful last year. He still hit 24 homers, drove in 86 runs and he had an .814 OPS. 

With a full offseason to heal up, Harper will be a prime bounce-back candidate as he looks to help the Nationals win their third NL East title in the last four years. 

Related: Sorry D.C. sports fans, Bryce Harper is a Dallas Cowboys fan

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Nationals' Max Scherzer says he may not be ready for season opener

Nationals' Max Scherzer says he may not be ready for season opener

The Nationals aren't certain to have ace Max Scherzer ready to pitch for Opening Day. Scherzer, 32, was unable to compete in the World Baseball Classic this summer due to a stress fracture in his right ring finger. 

When he spoke to the media today at the first bullpen session of spring training, he said that the fracture has healed but the symptoms continue. 

Scherzer also said he'd just started throwing again this week. Manager Dusty Baker confimed that the Nationals don't know whether Scherzer will be ready to start the season. 

Any time a team's star pitcher suffers an unusual hand injury, it's cause for concern for the club and fans. 

Scherzer won the NL Cy Young Award last season and posted a 20-7 record as a starter. He also led the MLB with 284 strikeouts. 

Scherzer is an especially vital part of the Nationals rotation considering the injury history of Stephen Strasburg, who landed on the DL twice last season, once with soreness in the elbow that needed Tommy John surgery in 2010. 

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