Zimmerman needs more time before returning

Zimmerman needs more time before returning
April 26, 2011, 11:10 pm
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011 7:09 p.m.
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By Mark Zuckerman
Nationals Insider
CSNwashington.com

Ryan Zimmerman took a step Tuesday toward his eventual return from an abdominal strain, but the Nationals third baseman is still going to need some more time before he's activated off the disabled list.

Zimmerman performed some light baseball activities Tuesday afternoon for the first time since going on the 15-day DL April 9. Standing down the right-field line at Nationals Park, he played catch with head trainer Lee Kuntz from about 60 feet, fielded some hand-thrown grounders and then jogged about 90 feet several times.

Zimmerman hasn't yet taking batting practice, run the bases or fielders grounders off a bat, steps he must take before he can return to game action. Even then, he'll need to go on a minor-league rehab assignment for at least a couple of days to face live hitting before coming off the DL.

"I think he'll find his timing at the plate relatively quick," manager Jim Riggleman said before Tuesday's game against the Mets. "But it's the other parts of the game -- all the game stuff that happens, the running, the diving, taking an extra base, sliding, quick movements -- that we really want to make sure he doesn't re-aggravate this injury."

Zimmerman originally injured himself early in spring training, then aggravated the abdominal strain sliding headfirst into second base April 8 in New York. He was eligible to come off the DL Sunday, but team officials have believed all along he would need at least another week.

"It just seems like it's an area that throughout baseball a lot of players are dealing with it today and missing significant time," Riggleman said. "So we just want to make sure we keep the days as short as possible on this end, so it doesn't extend later to be a real long period of time where he would have to sit because he's re-aggravated it."