- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2007

ATLANTA — Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman broke a 0-for-13 slump with a ninth-inning homer yesterday against the Atlanta Braves. More importantly, he didn’t make an error.

The third baseman had a weekend to forget, following Friday’s three-error game with another throwing miscue Saturday.

“It’s hard to believe,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s usually so good.”

Had Zimmerman developed a phobia about throwing the ball across the diamond?

Zimmerman denied it. So did manager Manny Acta.

“I feel fine,” said Zimmerman, who has a surprising 23 errors. “It’s not in my head or anything.”

Said Acta: “I’ll get concerned if he does it for a week or a month.”

Apparently, there was nothing to worry about.

Zimmerman came in and threw out Andruw Jones on a nice play in the second inning yesterday. He made three more throws, and all were on the mark in the 7-4 victory.

“When it’s a mental [problem], guys just struggle with every throw and have to take time off and get some type of psychological program and stuff,” Acta said. “That’s not the case.”

Successful return

Ryan Langerhans said it felt strange being in the visiting clubhouse at Turner Field. Of course, the whole season has been strange for the former Braves outfielder.

The Nationals are his third major league team this season, and he spent time last month back in the minors. It wasn’t supposed to be that way when he hit nearly .400 during spring training and started the season as Atlanta’s regular left fielder.

“It’s been crazy,” said Langerhans, who is hitting just .165. “Instead of a light switch going on, it was like a light switch was on and went off.”

Langerhans tripled as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning Saturday after getting a round of applause from Braves fans at Turner Field.

“That was nice,” he said.

Yesterday Langerhans came through again as a pinch hitter. This time he reached on a drag bunt to lead off the seventh inning, stole second and scored a run.

Resting up

With Brian Schneider battling the flu, Rule 5 rookie Jesus Flores started his second straight game behind the plate.

Schneider is expected to start tonight’s series opener at Florida.

“He’s feeling better,” Acta said.

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