- Associated Press - Monday, September 21, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - Nationals manager Matt Williams isn’t giving up on Ryan Zimmerman’s potential return, even though the first baseman hasn’t swung a bat in two weeks.

With Monday’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles postponed because of rain, Zimmerman has missed 10 games since straining his left oblique.

But as the Nationals try to mount a division comeback over their final 13 games and make up a 6 1/2 game deficit on the NL East-leading New York Mets, Williams still hopes the first baseman can play a role.

“We’ve seen what he can do when healthy, and it’s pretty special,” Williams said. “If we have a healthy Zim, then we’re fortunate, we’re better off. So he’s pushing as hard as he can and so are we.”

Zimmerman had hit safely in 11 straight games, batting .435 with six homers and four doubles in that stretch. He last played Sept. 7 against the Mets, the first loss of a three-game sweep that expanded the Nationals’ division deficit to seven games.

Williams hopes he could potentially starting swing a bat in “the next couple of days.”

The Nationals’ 2005 first-round draft pick has battled several injuries in his career, including a hamstring issue last year that forced him into an exclusive pinch-hitting role in the postseason.

Recently, the platoon of Tyler Moore and Clint Robinson has fared admirably in Zimmerman’s absence, combining to bat .348 with three homers and seven RBI from Sept. 8 onward.

“I’m not surprised,” Williams said of their effort. “I don’t think you could ask them to do that. … But I think we’ve given them opportunity, hopefully in the right situations, and they’ve come through.”

The clubs will make up Monday’s game on Thursday, a mutual off day, at 4:05 p.m, and Monday’s scheduled starters will be pushed back.

Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (11-9) will face Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez (11-7) Tuesday.

Chris Tillman will start Wednesday and Tyler Wilson will start Thursday for Baltimore. The Nationals have not announced their starters after Tuesday.

“We can set it up depending on everybody’s health of course and how everybody’s feeling and their off days and regular rest and all of that,” Williams said of his rotation. “We’ll do that tonight.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: INF Danny Espinosa (right hamstring strain) will have an MRI Tuesday, Williams said.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Jimenez (4.31 ERA) will try to improve to 3-0 in September.

Nationals: Gonzalez has allowed three earned runs over his last three starts (18 1-3 IP).


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide