Both Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Zimmerman took notable steps forward in their recoveries on Sunday as each inch closer to returning to the Nationals.
Gonzalez threw a simulated game of 50 pitches before the team's matchup with the Texas Rangers. Teammates Kevin Frandsen, Greg Dobbs and Tyler Moore stood in to face Gonzalez as pitching coach Steve McCatty observed from behind an L-screen.
Gonzalez reported no discomfort relating to his left shoulder inflammation and is now lined up to make a minor league rehab assignment.
"Gio’s good," manager Matt Williams said. "After the session today, he reported that he felt great. So we’ll look to a rehab start in the coming days. But he came out of it great."
Gonzalez could make a rehab appearance Friday on normal rest. The Potomac Nationals - the Nats' closest minor league affiliate - are home on Friday against Wilmington, making them the likely destination.
Gonzalez has been out since May 18 when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Zimmerman is already with the P-Nats and on Sunday made his third rehab appearance. He went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in Potomac's win over Single-A Salem. Through three rehab games Zimmerman is 3-for-10 with three RBI.
The former Gold Glove third baseman has been playing in left field with the P-Nats and made several defensive plays in Sunday's game with no issues.
"He had three chances," Williams said. "One fly ball, a couple of balls went out there. Did fine. So he’s got another one tomorrow."
Williams said the plan is for Zimmerman to play a full nine innings on Monday with a possible return the following day when the Nats take on the Phillies in Washington. Zimmerman has been out since fracturing his right thumb on April 12 in game against the Braves.