- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2014

ATLANTAThe Nationals will put Ryan Zimmerman at first base Tuesday for three innings in the instructional league in Viera, Fla., manager Matt Williams said.

Zimmerman has not played since tearing his right hamstring in Colorado on July 22.

Williams outlined a clear incremental path for Zimmerman. After Monday’s workout, Zimmerman is expected to play three innings, then five, then DH before playing seven and, finally, nine innings.

As he would with the Nationals, Zimmerman will play first and third base, plus left field, in Florida.

Williams noted one of the large issues for Zimmerman will be adjusting to simply standing around for three hours once again. The Nationals also want to see how he does changing direction in the field, plus running the bases.

The Nationals‘ management of Zimmerman’s return benefits from two September bonuses: Rosters expanded Sept. 1, which gives them wiggle room. They also have a dominant 10.5-game lead in the National League East as they start a three-game series against second-place Atlanta on Monday night. There’s no need to rush him.

The injury will limit Zimmerman to a career-low in at-bats since becoming an everyday player in 2006. The Nationals hope to get him some work in the big leagues before the postseason starts.

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