The Washington Times - February 28, 2013, 10:22PM

VIERA, Fla. — Ryan Zimmerman will make his spring training debut on Sunday, manager Davey Johnson said Thursday night.

Zimmerman, who has been building up the strength in his right shoulder after offseason surgery, will serve as the Nationals’ designated hitter when they play the St. Louis Cardinals.

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The Nationals’ third baseman took a significant step in his rehab when he threw to a base on Thursday during batting practice, and he expanded his throwing program to 110 feet on Wednesday.

Playing in a game will be the next step for Zimmerman and perhaps in another week or so he will be ready to play on both sides of the ball.

– Catcher Wilson Ramos will be examined by team medical director Wiemi Douoguih on Saturday. The hope is that after that examination, Ramos will be cleared to slide and he too will be able to get into spring training games as a designated hitter.

– Henry Rodriguez did not throw live batting practice on Thursday, he threw just a bullpen session, which he said was “so-so.” Rodriguez will throw another bullpen before he faces live hitters in batting practice, and getting in a game will come after that.

“They want him to throw another ‘pen because he hasn’t thrown any breaking balls,” Johnson said. 

– Anthony Rendon improved to 5-for-12 on the spring on Thursday, going 1-for-2 with a double. Rendon now has two doubles and a homer this spring.

– Johnson singled out second baseman Danny Espinosa and shortstop Ian Desmond as two players he’s pleased with at the plate early this spring. Espinosa was 1-for-2 with a double on Thursday and Desmond is 4-for-8 this spring.