The Washington Times - May 4, 2011, 06:49PM

PHILADELPHIA — The swelling in the area of Rick Ankiel’s right hand and wrist did not improve enough for Nationals manager Jim Riggleman to put him in the starting lineup for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies — but the Nationals still don’t feel the injury is going to keep the center fielder out for a prolonged amount of time.

Ankiel, who injured his wrist making a diving play in the outfield on Monday night, has been getting treatment on the area for the past two days and is available to pinch hit in an emergency situation.

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“He’s making a little progress but he did a little more to it that than we thought,” Riggleman said. “I thought he just rolled over it and was uncomfortable but it’s a nagging thing that he’s just not real comfortable going out and taking a lot of batting practice right now or anything like that so we’re going to shut him down here for tonight.”

Ankiel said he had X-rays taken monday night that came back clean and he has not been sent for an MRI.

In his place, Jerry Hairston Jr. got the start in center field for the second straight game and Alex Cora played third base. Shorstop Ian Desmond moved up to Ankiel’s No. 2 spot in the Nationals lineup against Phillies’ right-hander Vance Worley.

– It took him 30 minutes, but Nationals third baseman walked a mile on a treadmill on Wednesday, just as the training staff said he would one day after surgery to repair a rectus tear in his abdomen. 

You can read the full story of Zimmerman’s first day — and the start to the six-week rehab process — on the main site. 

The third baseman, who was admittedly quite sore and swollen, will return to Washington on Thursday to truly begin his recovery. He will take things slow and easy for the next week or so before beginning to challenge himself more and more.

“I’m pretty sore and should be pretty sore for the next week or so,” Zimmerman said. “But if we follow what they say to do and go with that, then it’s proven to be pretty successful.”