The Nationals expect to get not one, but two significant boosts to their lineup Tuesday night, with both Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche likely to return from injuries for the start of a road series in Pittsburgh.
Zimmerman took a full round of batting practice today for the first time since he was sidelined by right shoulder inflammation on April 21 and came away confident he's ready to go.
"I felt good," the third baseman said. "I was hitting like I would in a game."
Zimmerman was actually eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list today, but the Nationals didn't want to risk activating him before seeing how his shoulder responded to the BP session. He'll hit again tomorrow (an off-day for the club) and then travel with his teammates to Pittsburgh.
"If everything continues to feel like it did today, then I'll play Tuesday," he said.
LaRoche, meanwhile, took swings off soft-toss throws today and said he felt no problems in his sore right oblique muscle. Like Zimmerman, he'll take a full round of batting practice tomorrow and believes he'll be able to play Tuesday after missing the last four games.
"Obviously it's up to them," he said, "but I feel like Tuesday's pretty realistic right now."