The Washington Nationals' 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins dropped them back to a game under .500. Their lack of opportunities on offense frustrated Nats' skipper Matt Williams, but looking for silver linings, the first-year manager pointed to Adam LaRoche's monster home run in his second game back off the DL and some more good news from the Nationals' trainers.
"Some positive signs regarding our health out of training room which is good," Williams told reporters after the loss, "and, so, today wasn't our day, but we've got to go at seven o'clock tomorrow night, so we'll see what we can do."
The positive news he received yesterday won't immediately impact the Nationals on the field, but help could be on the way in the form of rehabbing third baseman (/left fielder?) Ryan Zimmerman, who was finally cleared to start swinging a bat and throwing the ball some seven weeks after he fractured his thumb diving back into second base headfirst on a pickoff play in an April 12th game against the Braves in Atlanta.
"Zim is clear to start swinging and throwing," Williams said, "so he'll start that process. All signs are good."
"We still have to be careful," he cautioned, "but there are some positives there."
Zimmerman threw without a splint on his right hand before Monday's game and doctors took another X-ray during the Memorial Day matinee before clearing the 29-year-old infielder to start ramping things up a bit as he works his way back.
"So he can throw, he can start swinging," Williams said. "We're going to take it a little bit slow with the bat, because the vibration can certainly cause pain let alone any further damage, but he's been cleared to do that, which is good."
There is still no timetable as to when Zimmerman might actually return to the lineup, however.
"We don't have a definite on that yet," the Nats' skipper added, "but he's taken the next step which is good. So he'll start swinging the bat in the cage. Some tee work. Some soft toss work. See how he does with that and progress from there."
The Nationals also received positive reports on 28-year-old left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who was placed on the DL last week with left shoulder inflammation.
"Gio threw good today," Williams said. " He'll go again tomorrow. He'll stretch out, back out to 120 [feet] again tomorrow and we'll see where he is and then try to line up a bullpen from there. But he threw well today. He felt good today."
With Gonzalez out of the rotation, the Nationals have 25-year-old right-hander Blake Treinen filling in.
Treinen will make his second straight start in Gonzalez's stead tonight opposite right-hander Henderson Alvarez in the second game of three with the Miami Marlins in D.C.