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.