MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Trea called up as Nationals place Zim on DL

Club recalls Turner, Taylor; Giolito optioned to Triple-A Syracuse

Trea called up as Nationals place Zim on DL

NEW YORK -- A day after being short on the bench against the Mets, the Nationals placed first baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list Friday, retroactive to Thursday, because of a strained left rib cage and optioned right-hander Lucas Giolito to Triple-A Syracuse.

The team recalled outfielder Michael Taylor and infielder/outfielder Trea Turner from Syracuse. Those two players will come off the bench. For Taylor, he will be the backup outfielder, while Turner will see most of his time in the infield.

This marks the sixth consecutive season in which Zimmerman was placed on the DL. He had a problem with the rib cage during his third at-bat against the Brewers on Wednesday, a game in which he went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs. Zimmerman said the rib cage injury is not as sore as it was the day he injured it. Zimmerman hopes to be back sometime after the All-Star break.

"Any time you get hurt, it's frustrating," Zimmerman said. "The important thing now is to try to get it better. We think we caught it early. ... It's frustrating that we all work hard to try and play every game and be on the field. That's the ultimate goal. But things happen. Unfortunately, I had to deal with it. It's part of the job and part of the game."

Giolito was sent to Syracuse after allowing four runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Mets on Thursday. In two starts, Giolito, MLBPipeline.com's No. 1 overall prospect, posted a 4.70 ERA for Washington.

Giolito would have been sent back down even if he pitched well. The Nationals don't need a fifth starter until the Padres series starting on July 22. By that time, right-hander Joe Ross, who is on the DL with shoulder discomfort, could be ready to pitch.

Giolito was given a 4-1 lead against the Mets on Thursday, but he couldn't get the third out in the fourth inning. After Jose Reyes homered, Giolito allowed two doubles and a walk -- he also committed a balk -- before exiting the game in favor of Oliver Perez. Giolito said it didn't help that he had poor command from the start of the game.

In the Minor Leagues, Giolito said he could take a deep breath and let the game slow down whenever he was in trouble on the mound. At Citi Field, Giolito allowed the game to go haywire. His mechanics went south and he took the curveball out of the equation. He simply couldn't throw it for a strike.

"The game was really, really fast," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "... When you have a one-pitch guy against the National League champs, it's a learning experience. I know he will take something positive out of it."

Turner, the club's No. 2 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, is hitting .302/.370/.471 with six home runs and eight triples in 83 games for Syracuse. He has appeared in two games for the Nationals this season, going 3-for-3 with a walk, before being sent back to Triple-A.

The club's shortstop of the future, Turner also spent time in center field during his latest Minor League stint. He said he was going to keep an open mind, even though he wants to play shortstop. Turner was approached by assistant general manager Doug Harris and Syracuse manager Billy Gardner a couple of weeks ago about making a position change. It was a quick conversation, and Turner started working in the outfield after that.

"At the same time, different opportunities arise," Turner said. "I just try to keep an open mind. If it's something to help out the team, whatever it may be, I'm all for it."

Taylor, 25, rejoins the Nationals after a brief stint in Syracuse, where he appeared in one game after being optioned Monday. He is hitting .225 with 10 doubles, six home runs and 10 stolen bases in 60 games with the Nationals this season. When he was sent down, manager Dusty Baker said Taylor needed at-bats, but they may be hard to come by with Washington. Taylor must learn how to hit the breaking ball.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Hitting .302 and atop the International League leaderboard in runs (61) and steals (25), Turner has proven that he is ready for a regular role in the Majors. With Zimmerman landing on the disabled list, Baker has the opportunity to get Turner into the lineup by shifting second baseman Daniel Murphy to first base. If he impresses his new boss during Zimmerman's absence, the 23-year-old could continue to see regular duty down the stretch by using his versatile fielding skills at second and shortstop as well as in center field. In all leagues, owners should scan the waiver wire for Turner right away.

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.