Jordan Zimmermann was scratched from Thursday's planned outing in New York with flu-like symptoms.
Tanner Roark was pressed into action in the series finale with the Mets, and Zimmermann returned to the nation's capital to recover so that he could get better as soon as possible.
"We'll get him back to D.C. and get him some rest today, and reevaluate tomorrow," Manager Matt Williams told reporters before the third game of three in Citi Field.
"He told me that he broke the fever about 11 o'clock last night," Williams explained in this morning's pregame press conference. "He said that he feels good, a hundred times better today than he did yesterday. He said he's good to go, but we have to evaluate him this morning and make sure. So, as of right now we're just kind of seeing how he is and he's scheduled to pitch, but that can change. So we just figure out how he's feeling right now. I'm sure he'll get heated up a little bit and see how he reacts to that before he goes out there to warm up, certainly."
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Before Zimmermann said he was capable of going today, the plan was to piece together a start from the Nationals' relievers. The Nats' skipper said today that's still probably the direction they will go if Zimmermann is unable to take the mound for this afternoon's 1:10 pm EDT affair.
"I think it's [Craig] Stammen," Williams said. "Craig would probably start the game for us if Zimmermann can't go, but we'll see how that plays [out]. If we have to make a change, we'll evaluate that."
Moving the starters around, however, can have a negative effect going forward, so the Nationals are hoping that Zimmermann can go and they can straighten things out.
"That's something you have to keep in mind," the Nationals' first-year skipper said. "That's something you have to look at, but we have to play today, so we'll have to do today and see how tomorrow looks if we have to go that direction. But, if Jordan can go, he'll go."
Though the Nats' are hoping their 2013 19-game winner can go, it's still wait-and-see considering how bad he felt on Thursday.
"We've all had the flu," Williams said. "So, you know you feel fine waking up in the morning, and sometimes it gets worse as you go later in the day, especially if you have any kind of activity, so we'll have to monitor him."
Zimmermann, an '07 2nd Round pick out of Auburndale, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Stevens-Point, is coming off a +3.6 fWAR season in 2013 which he finished at (19-9) with a 3.25 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 40 walks (1.69 BB/9) and 161 Ks (6.79 K/9) in 32 starts and 213 1/3 IP.
In his adopted home in the nation's capital, Zimmermann was dominant last season, going (12-3) in 18 starts and posting a 2.61 ERA, a 3.11 FIP, 25 walks (1.86 BB/9) and 89 Ks (6.64 K/9) in 120 2/3 IP over which he held opposing hitters to a .220/.264/.335 line.
• Here's the Nationals' lineup for the home opener with the Braves: