The Washington Nationals activated third baseman Ryan Zimmerman from the disabled list on Friday afternoon and optioned top prospect Anthony Rendon back to Double-A Harrisburg.
Zimmerman, who was on the DL with a left hamstring strain, was expected to return to the Nationals’ lineup against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night. Rendon traveled with the team to Pittsburgh from Atlanta and then was planning to go from there and rejoin Double-A Harrisburg.
“It was outstanding,” manager Davey Johnson said after Rendon was 2-for-3 with a walk and several strong defensive plays on Thursday night, in his final game of his first big league tour. “I shook his hand… He really did a great job. Fielded outstanding and got some good base hits.
“Its nice. I think he got his average up to .240. I’m sure he can live with that.”
The Nationals’ lineup should regain a little more stability with the return of Zimmerman — something Johnson said he’d been looking for as he attempts to ignite his offense.
“It’s going to be great,” Johnson said of the impending return of his third baseman. “Even when Zim was here, he was nursing that hamstring for a couple weeks, and it was hard for him to land. So the word I got was he was running, played six innings and felt great.
“It’ll be great having him back. I really liked our lineup at the start of the year and I like the potential of it. The good thing is, it’s given some of the guys on the bench time to play. But it’s going to be sweet to have him back in the lineup.”
Zimmerman put questions about his hamstring to rest with the way he played in a one-game rehab assignment with Single-A Potomac on Wednesday evening. Before he’d gone on the disabled list, the third baseman had also committed four errors as he continued to get comfortable with a re-worked throwing motion and a shoulder that he is still building strength in.
While the Nationals have been very vocal in their support of Zimmerman, his trip to the DL temporarily quieted questions about his throwing, and there will be plenty of eyes on him in the field as he returns to the Nationals’ lineup.
– Programming note: I am unfortunately not with the team in Pittsburgh this weekend.
Here are the full lineups as Ross Detwiler faced A.J. Burnett:
Denard Span CF
Ian Desmond SS
Bryce Harper LF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Tyler Moore RF
Danny Espinosa 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Ross Detwiler P