ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 30: Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals follows through after making contact for a three run home run while teammate Michael Morse #38 reacts in the background during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 30, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters last night that Washington Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmermann just had a "little bit of soreness" in his right shoulder yesterday, so the manager made the decision to have him sit for the second game of two with Philadelphia in Citizens Bank so he could come back for the series finale and then take advantage of the schedule to get two days of rest since Washington's off on Thursday. "'We've got a chance here,'" the 69-year-old skipper said he told the 27-year-old Face of the Nats franchise, "'I can give you off a day, play tomorrow and then you've got another day off. We want to nip that thing in the bud. You're too valuable to me. I know you want in there and believe me I want you in there.' But it bothered him a little [Monday] and it was bothering him a little bit [on Tuesday], and I said to him, 'No way.' I'll lose this battle but I don't want to lose the war." Zimmerman is back in the lineup tonight, as expected, as the Nats and right-hander Edwin Jackson take on the Phillies and left-hander Cole Hamels.
• Here's tonight's lineup:
• 7:05 pm EDT start time tonight. While you're waiting, you can listen to the latest edition of 106.7 the FAN in DC's The Mike Rizzo Show with Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier. The Nats' GM is at the ACC Tournament, watching prospects and preparing for the 2012 MLB Draft which takes place June 4th. Listen to the entire show and hear what Rizzo says about Henry Rodriguez, Ian Desmond and Triple-A Chiefs' outfielder Corey Brown:
• There were also updates from Citizens Bank Park today about 1B/OF Michael Morse, who was reportedly heading to Viera, Florida to start getting in some live action as he worked his way back from a lat strain. The 30-year-old slugger hasn't played a game yet this year as he's waited for the injury to heal, but he's about to start ramping it up over the next week and a few minor league starts are apparently not too far away. The word out of Philly today was that a June 8th return is the goal with the chance of Morse returning sooner than that still a possibility. Here's what the Tweeting members of the D.C. press corps had to say:
Michael Morse is scheduled to play in his first extended spring training game on Fri. Plan is for 3 G in Florida, then on to mi lg rehab.— Amanda Comak (@acomak) May 23, 2012
Morse will play in extended spring Friday. He'll return 6/8 "for sure," Davey said, and "some people are thinking it might be accelerated."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) May 23, 2012
Morse in Viera, will start playing games Friday. Probably go on rehab assignment next week. Return from DL no later than June 8.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) May 23, 2012
June 8th is, of course, the start of more Interleague play which would allow Morse to serve as a DH as he works his way back with the Nats traveling to Boston for three with the Red Sox before going north of the border to take on the Toronoto Blue Jays.
• Tonight's GameThread's up at 6:35 pm EDT.