The Washington Times - August 28, 2011, 10:10AM

CINCINNATI — Jordan Zimmermann will take the mound this afternoon with 157 innings under his belt in the 2010 season. Once he completes his third inning today against the Reds, he will have hit is 160-inning limit for his first full season after Tommy John surgery.

The limit is not so strict that the Nationals are going to pull him after three. Zimmermann will be allowed to take his final start as far as he can. But when it’s over, so is the 25-year-old’s season. Zimmermann wants the ball every five days, he has said on a few occasions that he’d love to be able to throw 200-plus innings this year but he understands why he can’t. He also understands that if he obeys this time around, chances are he’ll be able to be the workhorse he sees himself as in 2012 while the Nationals worry about an innings limit for their next Tommy John survivor, Stephen Strasburg.

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For today, Zimmerman’s test is the Reds and he’ll have to beat them without his regular third baseman behind him with Ryan Zimmerman getting the day off. Zimmerman, who has slumped of late with just one hit in the last four games, will get Sunday off to piggy back on Monday’s team off day after Nationals manager Davey Johnson noticed some wear and tear on the third baseman recently.

“I know he’s been dragging,” Johnson said Saturday night. “He’s just so valuable to the ballclub. I wanted to give him a breather, and we’ve got an off day coming Monday. I’m planning on giving him (Sunday) off. I saw it the last few days, three or four days.”

Here are the fill lineups behind Zimmermann and Reds Johnny Cueto:

Nationals:

Ian Desmond SS
Jayson Werth RF
Rick Ankiel CF
Michael Morse LF
Danny Espinosa 2B
Laynce Nix 1B
Jesus Flores C
Alex Cora 3B
Jordan Zimmermann P

Reds:

Brandon Phillips 2B
Fred Lewis LF
Joey Votto 1B
Jay Bruce RF
Todd Frazier 3B
Drew Stubbs CF
Ryan Hanigan C
Paul Janish SS
Johnny Cueto P