The Washington Times - April 28, 2011, 07:22PM

Ryan Zimmerman and Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz were back out in right field on Thursday afternoon playing catch from a short distance for just a few minutes. It was the same type of activity Zimmerman has engaged in every day since the Nationals have returned from their most recent road trip but he came through it fine.

He also admitted that coming back from the abdominal strain is going to be a slow process and doesn’t expect to be back on the active roster for at least another week but that this upcoming week is an important one.


“It’s OK,” he said. “Getting better. It’s one of those things where I’ve never had it, so I really don’t know how long it can take.

“It’s only been a little more than two weeks. This next week is, I guess, an important week. That’s what Lee said.”

Zimmerman said that the strain has improved enough that doing everyday things doesn’t bother him anymore — though they did at first — and that while he hasn’t swung a bat while he’s been on the disabled list, that never bothered him.

When asked if he’d require a rehab assignment when he’s ready, in order to see live pitching before returning to the active roster, Zimmerman was unsure but noted that he never takes very long to find his swing at the plate.

“The good thing for me is that hitting is always the easiest for me to come back from,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll want me to do some sort of rehab thing but I think the goal is to get back here as quick as I can and if I can get back, I’ll take my chances in learning how to hit again here and help these guys out.”

Without him, the Nationals offense is hitting .227 — the second-worst average in the National League entering Thursday night — and they’re about to embark on a brutal schedule of games where they welcome the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants before traveling to division rivals Philadelphia, Florida and Atlanta, all division teams with a .500 record or better, and then return home to face Florida again.