The Washington Times - July 4, 2011, 10:41AM

UPDATED 11:11 a.m.

Manager Davey Johnson excluded third baseman Ryan Zimmerman from Monday’s lineup after Zimmerman told him Sunday that he’s experiencing tenderness where he had abdominal surgery two months ago.

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“I sat him immediately,” Johnson said. “I’m not taking a chance that he might re-injure anything.”

Johnson told reporters after Sunday’s 10-2 loss to Pittsburgh that he wanted to give Zimmerman a day off. Zimmerman had surgery on May 3 to repair a torn abdominal muscle and missed 58 games. He had been in the lineup for all 19 games since he returned from the disabled list on June 14.

Zimmerman mentioned the soreness to Johnson a few days ago, he said, but other players’ injuries forced him to remain in the lineup. The third baseman didn’t expect to miss more than Monday and the plan then would be to play the final week of games before the All-Star break and get some rest next week.

Zimmerman did not reveal that he was experiencing discomfort when he spoke to a reporter after Sunday’s game about the possibility of taking a day off but said Monday that it was mostly just general soreness and nothing to be too concerned about.

“I feel good,” he said Sunday. “Coming back you’ve got to be a little cautious, but I’m ready to go out there every day. But if Davey and the guys think it’s necessary and fit, for them looking out for me, it’s one of those things where it’s tough to take it, but you need it sometimes.

“I’ve told him that if you need me to go, I’m there to go every day. Sometimes those guys know better. It’s hard to get us out of the lineup sometimes. A day here and a day there can do wonders for the long run.”

Johnson wondered aloud on Sunday whether he could afford to rest Zimmerman in light of the team’s mounting injuries. But right fielder Jayson Werth will bat fifth Monday after leaving Sunday’s game in the sixth inning when he was hit by a pitch in the left wrist. Johnson originally expected Werth to miss a day or two.

Zimmerman’s numbers at the plate have been extremely uncharacteristic for the Silver Slugger, who’s hitting .224 with just three homers and 13 RBI in an abbreviated season that he admitted felt to him like he was still just coming out of spring training.

“It’s been a different year,” he said Monday. “It’s tough, but the important thing is I’m back and I’m playing. The last two games I’ve started to feel better at the plate, taking walks, not swinging at pitches I usually don’t swing at.” 

— Amanda Comak contributed to this report.