Ryan Zimmerman reacts after being picked off in the fifth inning. He broke his thumb on the play.
Daniel Shirey/Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA — Third baseman Ryan Zimmeran tried to put a positive spin on his broken right thumb and the Washington Nationals’ list of injuries.
"Hopefully we’ll get all this out of the way," he said, "and everyone will be healthy the rest of the year."
Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday and is expected to miss between four to six weeks.
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He was injured in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves while getting picked off as he dove back to second base.
"I thought just my nail had bent back, because the nail was black and blue and bleeding," Zimmerman said. "It was the whole thumb, not just the nail. It stinks but it happens. It was just a freak accident."
Infielder Zach Walters was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to take Zimmerman’s spot on the 25-man roster. Walters hit .290 with three doubles and three RBIs in nine games at Syracuse.
Washington a few minutes before the first pitch that center fielder Nate McLouth had been scratched from the lineup with an undisclosed injury.
Bryce Harper moved from left field to center field and went from sixth in the batting order to second.
Kevin Frandsen took Harper’s spot in left field and batted sixth.
The Nationals received some good news Sunday when right fielder Jayson Werth returned to the lineup. A sore groin kept Werth from playing in the field Saturday. He singled as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Center fielder Denard Span was placed on the seven-day disabled list Saturday with concussion symptoms, but said he feels better.
Span missed 70 games with Minnesota in 2011 because of concussion symptoms following a collision at home plate. He was injured Friday after colliding on the basepath with Braves second baseman Dan Uggla.
"If I had to play today I could play," Span said. "But I understand with my history that it’s best for me to go ahead and go on the 7-day DL, just to be safe, and think about the long rest of the season and also the rest of my life."
General manager Mike Rizzo said Zimmerman will see a hand specialist at the Cleveland Clinic on Monday.
Zimmerman, in his eighth season, has a .286 career average, 181 homers and 678 RBIs. In 33 at-bats this year, he’s hitting .364 with two homers and six RBIs.
With Zimmerman out of the lineup, Anthony Rendon moved from second base to third and Danny Espinosa started at second.
If there’s good news to come from Zimmerman’s injury, perhaps the time off will allow him to rest his right shoulder.
Zimmerman won an NL Gold Glove award in 2009 but has dealt with shoulder problems in recent years. He underwent surgery after the 2012 season.
He said a few days ago that switching from an over-the-top delivery to more of a sidearm throw is "a work in progress, but there’s no pain."
On April 5 in Washington, Zimmerman’s throwing error led to a pair of unearned runs in a loss to Atlanta.
The Nationals signed Zimmerman to a six-year, $100 million contract extension on Feb. 26, 2012.