The Nationals lineup for Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Chicago Cubs featured Yunel Escobar for the first time in two days, but missing was Ryan Zimmerman. The veteran first baseman is going through an extended slump and is taking the day off to recharge.
The Nationals are also off on Monday before they head to New York to face the Yankees, giving Zimmerman a rare 48 hours off to clear his head.
"It's kind of a two-for-one. It gives me a chance to physically recoup. I'll be ready to go on Tuesday," Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman is batting .213 on the season and has just one hit in his last six games, a stretch of 21 at-bats. His season on-base percentage is an unsightly .270, well below his .348 career mark.
Zimmerman admits he is struggling, but is not ready to worry with 10 years of MLB experience under his belt.
"I've been through this before plenty of times. I think when you try to start changing things, then that kind of prolongs it. Ultimately you'll get back to what you've done your whole career. You just gotta stick with that and go for it," he said.
Zimmerman has been dealing with a minor case of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but said it is not hampering him enough to use it as an excuse for his recent play.
"It bugs you. Just like everyone else in here, they all have something that bugs them while they play as well," he said. "It's just part of the season. Nobody ever feels good when they play. Everyone always has something that they deal with. That's not an excuse. It it was at a point to where it was hindering me, then I shouldn't play."
Zimmerman's recent struggles have coincided with a tough stretch for the Nationals' lineup overall. The Nats have scored three runs or less in 13 of their last 16 games.
Zimmerman is confident that he will break out of his current slump, and he's confident in the team as well.
"We just went like 20-6 or something like that. I guess we haven't played well this past week, but a month before that we played fine. We haven't even played consistently yet and we're in a good spot in our division. With three-and-a-half months left I don't think there's any reason to worry or make anything out of anything that's going on right now," he said.