8/18/2014 7:25 P.M. ET
Nats add outfielder Schierholtz on Minors deal
By Bill Ladson and Daniel Popper / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals agreed to terms with Nate Schierholtz on a Minor League contract Monday, less than two weeks after the Cubs designated the outfielder for assignment.
The move is aimed at helping bolster a Washington bench that has been missing a left-handed presence since outfielder Nate McLouth went on the 15-day disabled list earlier this month because of an inflamed right shoulder.
McLouth has suffered a number of setbacks during his rehab process and opted to get a second opinion because the shoulder wasn't healing properly. He was scheduled to undergo an arthrogram MRI -- effectively a joint X-ray -- on Monday to help determine the full extent of the injury and how much time it will force him to miss.
"It was by design that we went after [Schierholtz]," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "He's had great success as a pinch-hitter. He can play all three outfield positions above average. He throws well. He still runs well. He's got some pop from the left side of the plate. And as you see by our bench, we're a little short on left-handed power bats."
Manager Matt Williams also admitted that his bench is "right-handed heavy" in McLouth's absence despite having two switch-hitters in infielders Danny Espinosa and Asdrubal Cabrera. Schierholtz, who hit .192 in 99 games for Chicago this season, could help to even that discrepancy while also providing a proven and experienced bat.
Schierholtz had his best season in 2013, with the Cubs, batting .251 with a career-best 21 homers, 32 doubles, 56 extra-base hits and 56 runs.
"You have to have options. So what we don't have right now is that quote-unquote lefty off the bench," Williams said. "[Schierholtz] was out there and available, and given his history and the way he's played, it was the logical thing to do. … You have to make sure that you're covered and you have options. And he's a good player. He had a great season last year, and he's got experience doing what he may potentially be asked to do here."
Rizzo said the Nationals attempted to acquire Schierhotlz via trade on a number of occasions during past seasons, but the deals never worked out.
The left-handed slugger is expected to arrive at Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday, and Rizzo said Schierholtz would remain there as long as necessary to regain his form. The outfielder hasn't seen action since Aug. 5.
"We know when the last time he's played, so we're going to gauge how he feels," Rizzo said. "We'll get him as many at-bats as needs down there until we bring him up."
Frandsen, Hairston high on Schierholtz
WASHINGTON -- Kevin Frandsen and Nate Schierholtz have been best friends for more than a decade. They worked their way up the ranks of the Giants' farm system together in the early 2000s. They were teammates in Class A, Double-A and Triple-A before being reunited as Major Leaguers on the Phillies during the 2012 season. Not to mention, they attended one another's wedding.
So Frandsen was particularly excited when the Nationals inked Schierholtz, a former World Series champion, to a Minor League contract on Monday.
"It's a great signing for the organization," Frandsen said. "You're bringing in just a quality human being, first off, and then a really good player that's been there."
Frandsen isn't the only National that's close to Schierholtz, though. Scott Hairston played with the outfielder in Chicago last season, and often spends time with Schierholtz in the offseason.
"He can offer a lot to this team. I think he's a veteran presence," Hairston said. "He has a very respectable presence in the game, in the clubhouse."
Schierholtz will spend an undetermined period of time at Triple-A Syracuse to get some at-bats under his belt. He hasn't played since Aug. 5, one day before the Cubs designated him for assignment.
Frandsen said he's excited for the duo to return to old ways.
"It's awesome, especially in a situation like this, where we have a chance to do things that we've done in the past," Frandsen said. "And that's win."
No timetable for Zimmerman's return to Nats
WASHINGTON -- It's been almost a month since Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman suffered a Grade 3 hamstring strain, and the only thing he has done since that time is work out on an underwater treadmill. There is no timetable as to when Zimmerman will start baseball activities.
Zimmerman hurt the hamstring on July 22 while running to first base against the Rockies. While he is walking normally, Zimmerman can't do much else.
"There is no exact timetable. It's hard to put concrete dates on anything, because you just don't know. You are starting to feel better and that is a good sign," Zimmerman said. "I've been doing a few rehab things. There's really nothing you can do right now."
Zimmerman said he is not going to rush to get back on the field. He said the chances of reinjuring the hamstring if he rushed back are sky high.
"For as hard as it is, you have to think about the future," he said.
It appears that Anthony Rendon could be the Opening Day third baseman next season, and Zimmerman has already said Rendon is the best man for the job. If that's the case, Zimmerman could be the starting first baseman, but that's not certain given Adam LaRoche having a mutual contract option for 2015.
Zimmerman can also play left field. He has looked comfortable while playing 26 games there this season.
Asked what position he would like to play next year, Zimmerman said, "That's going to be a conversation that I will have with [general manager] Mike [Rizzo], [manager] Matt [Williams] and the other guys who make that decision. You want to help them out the best way they can to construct a team. It's hard to think about next year with the way this team is playing and how exciting the season has been. I think there are considerations to be thought about. I think it's unfair to talk about that stuff when there is something so special [going on]."
• Steven Souza Jr. (left AC joint sprain) said he will hold off on taking live batting practice until at least Tuesday. The outfielder said he felt some discomfort in his injured shoulder after a front-toss session in the cage Monday afternoon, and he doesn't want to rush his return.
• Jayson Werth (right AC joint sprain) was back in the Nationals' starting lineup Monday against the D-backs for the first time in six games. The right fielder saw his first action since Aug. 10 when he pinch-hit in Washington's extra-innings win over the Pirates on Sunday.
• Right-handers Blake Treinen and Aaron Barrett were both placed on the seven-day disabled list at Syracuse on Monday. Treinen slept on his throwing arm awkwardly, but he should return for his next start in seven days. Barrett suffered mild back spasms. A Nationals spokesman said neither injury is considered serious.
• The Nationals will host a toy drive before Wednesday night's game against the D-backs at Nationals Park to benefit the United States Marine Corps' Toys for Tots Program. Donations will be accepted at the center-field gate from 4:30 p.m. ET until the third inning.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.