Jordan Zimmermann has gone at least 6.0 innings in all but one start this season, in his first full year back following Tommy John surgery in 2009. Another 6.0-7.0 IP this afternoon against Colorado will put the 25-year-old right-hander at 115-116.0 IP on the season. The Nationals have been up front about the fact that they plan to limit their '07 2nd Round pick to around 160.0 IP this season, so he's going to be out of innings on that plan long before the 2011 season comes to an end. New Nats' Skipper Davey Johnson spoke to the press about the team's approach with Zimmermann going forward before Saturday's game against the Rockies. "[Pitching coach Steve] McCatty's got a plan for [Zimmermann]," Johnson said, "to kind of stretch him out that will be good for him, and not as bad for the team, trying to get him at least to where we can expand the roster."
"I've heard the plan and I'm not that comfortable with it," Johnson continued, "so we'll have the break to discuss that formula. I'm not quite set on how that goes down. I'll probably need some medical opinions and all this other stuff..."
Asked what in particular made him uncomfortable, the Nats' Manager explained, "If there's off days and I don't need another starter, then I can kinda understand, but if I've got to piece another starter in there to push him back further to get him to the expanded roster, I haven't looked at that, but that would be an issue with me."
"He's obviously pitched a lot better than a fifth starter," Johnson said. "So, if we're trying to win... I mean, but don't get me started on that whole scenario, but you can figure it out. I don't know if this is a medical decision. That he needs extra rest, or if we're going to shut him down at 160.0 innings, is it better to be regular and then shut [down]? So, there's all kinds of things, thought processes that [go] into it. It's probably made above me by smart doctors, but from a baseball standpoint, I want to win. I'm thinking of winning."
"It's a tough question," Johnson said, citing an example of how he had Roger McDowell pitch for him after an elbow injury in his past as a manager. "You do everything that you can for the individual, but not so much that it hurts the team. So, I mean, we haven't had all those discussions, but I know that that's what they think is best for [Zimmermann], but I haven't put my two cents in yet."