Matt Williams projects when Ryan Zimmerman will return

Matt Williams projects when Ryan Zimmerman will return
August 20, 2014, 7:00 pm
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It's been one month since Ryan Zimmerman last played for the Nationals. Whether the veteran third baseman will be playing again one month from now still remains a question mark, though manager Matt Williams remains confident Zimmerman will return from his hamstring injury before season's end.

"Sometime in September," Williams said Wednesday afternoon. "When? I don't know, but sometime in September. I don't think anything would happen until after [Sept. 1] because he still hasn't gone [through] the full gamut of tests. And then he would have to have some time to play."

Zimmerman, who hurt himself July 22 at Colorado trying to beat out a grounder, has yet to begin anything close to baseball activities. He has been limited so far to some light treadmill work.

The Nationals will continue to proceed with caution, understanding the risk of trying to push the 29-year-old back too fast.

"The last thing we want is for him to go to early and really do something bad to it," Williams said. "So we have to be sure when he comes back that he's ready, that there are no limitations, and he can go score from first (base) and play defense and do all the things that he does really well."

One other complicating factor: The minor-league regular season ends Sept. 1, so opportunities for Zimmerman to go on a rehab assignment after that will be scarce.

The Nationals' options at that point: Have Zimmerman play in some simulated games at the ballpark before batting practice, or send him to Viera for the Florida Instructional League, which begins play Sept. 13.

"If it's before that, that he's ready to go, then we'll arrange to have simulated games for him to play in in all aspects, whether it's batters, fielding balls or being in the outfield or being at third or any of that," Williams said. "We'll put him through the whole schmear and make sure he’s ready to go."

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