The Nationals may be without Ryan Zimmerman for an extended period of time, as their “best player” according to manager Davey Johnson, experienced no improvement with his ailing shoulder after taking a round of batting practice on Thursday.

Zimmerman, who signed a six-year, $100 million contract extension back in February, hurt his right shoulder making multiple diving plays during their homestand. The team has kept him on the active roster the last four games, hoping to avoid the disabled list, but Zimmerman will see Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles for further examination.

The 2009 All-Star was off to a slow start with the bat in 2012, hitting just one home run and posting a slash line of .224/.324/.345, all well below his career .287/.354/.477 line.  Both Mark DeRosa and Chad Tracy have filled in for Zimmerman during his absence, playing third and batting third in the lineup.

Both DeRosa and Tracy would continue to play the hot corner if Zimmerman is to miss an extended amount of playing time, but the recently released Brandon Inge may be a good short-term fix.

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