The Nationals are pushing right-hander Jordan Zimmermann’s next start back a day and swapping him with left-hander Gio Gonzalez in the rotation order, manager Davey Johnson said Wednesday.
Zimmermann, who has been the Nationals’ most consistent pitcher all season, has been dealing with some soreness when he begins to get loose before his starts and has some minor inflammation in his right shoulder.
He began an oral anti-inflammatory medication on Monday, Johnson said, and the Nationals are choosing to give him an extra day of rest before he faces the Miami Marlins.
Zimmermann will pitch Saturday, Johnson said, with Gonzalez instead pitching in the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader with the Marlins. John Lannan will pitch Game One of the doubleheader.
“He’s probably be fine to go,” Johnson said. “But he’s taking a little medication for the slight inflammation.”
With the Nationals having an off-day on Monday, both pitchers would’ve been pitching on an extra day of rest anyway. This way, Gonzalez will throw on his regular rest and Zimmermann — who didn’t get any extra rest over the All-Star break when he pitched the team’s final game before the break and the first one after it — will get two extra days.
“This just gives Zim an extra day,” Johnson said. “It’s not a big deal because he’s feeling good. A lot better than he has been. He’s been pitching lights out, so, that’s good.
“It’s not a big concern. He threw a great game (Saturday). I mean I don’t know if (Milwaukee’s) radar gun’s wrong but he hit 97 mph. I told Zim, ‘Shoot you came back and you pitched two games before anybody else pitched (after the break) so I’ll give you an extra day here.’ He said ‘OK, fine.’ No big deal.”
Zimmermann has worked to a 2.28 ERA this season and has pitched at least six innings in all 21 of his starts. While Stephen Strasburg and Gonzalez tend to garner more headlines (and were noted as All-Stars) Zimmermann has actually been the Nationals’ best pitcher this season.