SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made his second consecutive rehab start Monday night, this time suiting up with the Single-A Potomac Nationals and going 2-for-3 with a double.
Zimmerman was 2-for-2 with a double, a triple, a walk an RBI and a two runs scored on Sunday afternoon with Single-A Hagerstown, his first rehab appearance as he continues to work his way back from May 3 abdominal surgery. While Zimmerman’s return has been projected for June 14 as six weeks from the date of surgery, there was — and still is — a chance that Zimmerman could rejoin the Nationals active roster on their current 11-game road trip.
However, manager Jim Riggleman said Monday that is somewhat unlikely. Zimmerman told reporters in Hagerstown Sunday that while hitting and running feel good, he’s still sore when making throws at third base. The Nationals will not bring Zimmerman back until he’s 100 percent in all areas.
“When (Director of Player Development) Doug Harris and the managers and coaches of those respective (minor league) towns tell us he’s 100 percent, the trainer says he’s 100 percent, the doctor says he’s 100 percent and most importantly, Ryan says he’s 100 percent and that’s when we’ll see,” Riggleman said. “If it’s before we get home then we’ll certainly welcome that but we don’t want to push it. I really want him to be 100 percent. I don’t want any setbacks once we do get him.”
When Zimmerman does return, it will throw the Nationals lineup into a bit of disarray. He’ll obviously return to his spot at third base meaning Jerry Hairston Jr. will return to a utility role that will include work in the outfield. Initially, the Nationals had intended to use Hairston in a platoon with Rick Ankiel in center field but with the addition of Roger Bernadina to the roster (and at leadoff) it will crowd the outfield situation even more.
“We’ve got to rethink a lot of that, see just where it fits in,” Riggleman said. “It’ll be an adjustment for Jerry. He’ll be used in some double switches, pinch hitting, initially we were thinking a platoon of Ankiel and Jerry in center and but we’ll just have to see in this next week what it looks like with (Bernadina) and (Ankiel) swinging against the left-handers and if there’s going to be a platoon out there or not.
“But certainly there’s going to be a lot of adjustments to make with me putting the lineup together and with the players adjusting to it.”
– Wilson Ramos was showing off a moderate bruise on his left shin Monday from where he fouled a ball off it on Sunday and while the catcher said it was still somewhat painful to squat, he could play.
He was given a day off anyway with the Nationals opting to use Ivan Rodriguez but Riggleman said Ramos would indeed catch the next two games here in San Francisco.
– Several players were crowded around the clubhouse TV (tuned to MLB Network) to watch the MLB Draft this afternoon, several sharing what — if anything — they knew about the guys getting taken with the first few picks. Nationals closer Drew Storen actually played against both No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole and No. 3 overall pick Trevor Bauer when he was at Stanford and the pitching pair were still with UCLA.
Manager Jim Riggleman acknowledged that he enjoys the drafty and was “curious” to see who the Nationals got. He was looking forward to finishing his session with reporters and getting back in to watch the first few picks of the first round.