The Washington Times - August 1, 2012, 06:50PM

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was out of the starting lineup for the second straight day on Wednesday with a sore back, but Zimmerman did not expect his absence to last much longer.

“I’ll play (Thursday),” Zimmerman said. “I could’ve played today, but (manager Davey Johnson) kind of likes to give us an extra day at this point of the season, just to make sure it gets out of there. He said ‘We’ll get Chad some at-bats today,’ and I will play tomorrow.”


Zimmerman couldn’t pinpoint an exact moment that triggered the back issue, which he felt a bit on Monday when he woke up on the team’s offday and it got progressively worse as the day went on, but felt it was a combination of several things — including travel and a grueling schedule that has featured one off-day since the All-Star break.

Zimmerman received treatment on it since Monday, though, and said there was a “99.99 percent” change he’d play in Thursday’s finale with the Phillies. 

“Nobody wants time off,” he said. “But this month is the hardest of all the months, especially with the schedule we’ve had lately and that we’re going to have coming up… Everyone’s got some bumps and bruises. So for Davey to be able to give me, (Adam LaRoche), some of the guys that are a little banged up for the season, a day or two here or there makes it a lot easier to get to September, especially with the schedule we’re going through right now.”

Zimmerman said he hadn’t hit since the team’s off-day but could pinch hit in Wednesday’s game — and could have on Tuesday night as well.

“I told them (Tuesday) if you need me late in the game or if something were to happen to a couple people, I wasn’t dead,” Zimmerman said. “But today it feels way better than yesterday. And I suspect tomorrow will feel even better the way it’s been recovering.”

Zimmerman also said he has not had any issues with the right shoulder inflammation that caused his numbers to take a dive earlier in the season. When it was mentioned to Zimmerman that he hadn’t been asked about his shoulder in some time he quipped “Don’t. Don’t jinx it.”

The good news, though, is that it’s feeling great and while Zimmerman doesn’t know if or when he might need another cortisone shot, he’s perfectly fine with not knowing as long as it continues to feel good.

“I wake up every morning wondering about the same thing,” he said. “But every morning I’ve woken up, it’s felt good. We’ve just got to keep going with it and keep doing the exercises I’ve been doing. Hopefully it won’t come back. And if it does, we’ll take the certain measures we took before. But hopefully we won’t have to worry about that.”

Here are the full lineups for tonight’s game against the Phillies:


Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Bryce Harper RF
Chad Tracy 3B
Michael Morse LF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Danny Espinosa SS
Roger Bernadina CF
Jesus Flores C
Edwin Jackson P


Jimmy Rollins SS
Nate Schierholtz RF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
John Mayberry CF
Domonic Brown LF
Kevin Frandsen 3B
Erik Kratz C
Vance Worley P