Nats' Zimmerman takes significant step in recovery

Nats' Zimmerman takes significant step in recovery
August 21, 2014, 2:45 pm
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Ryan Zimmerman is still without a timetable to return, but he did take a step forward on Thursday in throwing for the first time in his recovery from a strained right hamstring.

Zimmerman threw lightly on the field at Nationals Park before the team's game against Arizona. It represented the first baseball activity for the 29-year-old since he suffered the injury on July 22 in Colorado.

"It's a step for sure," manager Matt Williams said. "This was the first day. It's nice and easy, but it allows him to do some baseball-related activity which is good."

Williams said Zimmerman will likely throw every other day moving forward, but that it depends on how his hamstring reacts. The skipper explained how throwing can test the muscle.

"It's just part of it. You have to use that muscle to throw, that's part of the deal. That's part of his strengthening process and getting him back to baseball activity and working through that. That's the early stages of it, but it's a step."

Williams also described the next step for Zimmerman, if his hamstring reacts favorably to Thursday's test.

"You add distance, you add a dynamic component: the crow-hop and moving through it, all of those things like he would have to do playing a game. He's not running yet, but that's part of the process he has to go through to strengthen that muscle with normal activities that he would do every day. It's one thing to do hamstring exercises, but to be sports specific is key, too."

Friday will mark a full month since Zimmerman first went out. Williams told reporters on Wednesday the team expects Zim back in September, but that's about as specific as they can get.

"We don't have a date, we don't have an idea for a date at this point. He's just going to have to progress through all of those things and see where he's at."

Souza set to begin rehab assignment

Outfielder Steven Souza, Jr. - who is out with a contusion in his left shoulder - left Nationals Park with his bags backed on Thursday afternoon all set to begin a minor league rehab assignment.

Souza will start at Single-A Hagerstown on Thursday night. From there, Williams says it will depend on a few things.

"We'll just see how he plays. He's gotta progress back to nine innings and get through it and make sure he gets four at-bats and does all his presume stuff and postgame work. All of that will make sure he's good to go. He's scheduled for the next week or so, but we'll see how he reacts. He needs a few games after sitting around and not being able to swing. He needs to get his timing back."

Souza has been out since Aug. 9. He injured his shoulder the night before in Atlanta after colliding with the wall in right field when chasing down a home run.