Zimmermann on track to start Tuesday for Nats

Zimmermann on track to start Tuesday for Nats
July 18, 2014, 5:00 pm

Jordan Zimmermann is on track to start Tuesday night for the Nationals in Colorado after playing catch Thursday and feeling no discomfort in his right arm.

Zimmermann, who pulled himself out of his last start in Philadelphia with cramping in his biceps, took time off during the All-Star break to let the muscle rest and came back to Washington confident he wouldn’t need to go on the disabled list.

He threw from 100 feet on Thursday and said “everything felt fine.” He planned to play catch again today, setting up a bullpen session Saturday. If all goes well, he’ll start Tuesday night at Coors Field against the Rockies.

“I knew I wasn’t going to go on the DL,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t that bad. Just something that I needed a little rest, and got what I needed, and hopefully I’ll be good to go the rest of the year.”

Named to the NL All-Star team for the second straight season, Zimmermann once again was unable to pitch in the Midsummer Classic due to injury. (He had a strained neck last year but did attend the game at New York’s Citi Field.) This time, he chose to return home to Wisconsin, skipping the game in nearby Minneapolis and using the time off to rest his arm and catch up with friends and family.

Zimmermann also made a point not to watch Tuesday night’s game on TV.

“I had a bunch of people over at the house and we had a little cookout,” he said. “So I missed that. … I obviously wanted to be there. But the best thing for me was to get a little rest, come back now and feel good.”

Zimmermann will wind up as the Nationals’ fifth starter coming out of the All-Star break. The rest of the rotation was tweaked a bit, as well, due to circumstances out of anybody’s control.

Gio Gonzalez originally was scheduled to start Saturday night against the Brewers, but he missed his connecting flight back to D.C. on Thursday due to mechanical failure. That forced the left-hander to push his bullpen session to today, so he’ll now start Sunday.

So, Tanner Roark will start Saturday, with Gonzalez on Sunday. Doug Fister will start Monday night in Colorado, followed by Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg.