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Wire Taps: Nationals' Skipper Matt Williams Expects Ryan Zimmerman Back At Third Base Tonight

Matt Williams talked at length on Tuesday about Washington Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman working on finding an arm slot that allows him to throw without pain. In an MLB Network Radio interview this morning, Williams said Zimmerman will likely return tonight.

Greg Fiume

Before last night's game, Matt Williams discussed Ryan Zimmerman's attempts to find a new arm slot that will allow him to throw across the infield without pain. Zimmerman felt soreness in his surgically-repaired right shoulder during Saturday's game after trying to make an overhand throw on a backhand play, but a subsequent MRI revealed no structural damage, only inflammation. Zimmerman worked out on the field yesterday, and experimented with a 3/4 arm slot. Get all the details on Williams' pregame comments on Zimmerman here:

Asked how realistic it was that Zimmerman could return in time for tonight's game, Williams said it was a "very realistic" possibility.

"If he comes in tomorrow and feels good," Williams said, "then I'm going to put him in there. We need him to play third for us."

With Zimmerman, out however, the Nationals have options. Anthony Rendon, who was drafted as a third baseman and shifted over to second, put together a big game last night against Miami, going 2 for 4 with three RBIs and one strong play on a bunt toward third, and he now has a .407 AVG on the year. As the Nats' skipper explained, however, Rendon isn't the only player who has stepped up and is contributing for the Nationals while Zimmerman is out.

"We don't want Ryan [Zimmerman] down, but if something like this does happen and he has to be out for a couple of days then we have not only Anthony [Rendon], but we have Danny [Espinosa]..." - Matt Williams on Nats' infield options

"We don't want Ryan [Zimmerman] down," he said, "but if something like this does happen and he has to be out for a couple of days then we have not only Anthony, but we have Danny [Espinosa] who can play Gold Glove defense in the middle. And that's one of the reasons that both of them are on our team. Because if something does happen like this then we can put guys in different spots and they perform and that's a great luxury to have."

In an appearance on MLB Network Radio this morning, Williams said Zimmerman should be back for the second game of three with the Marlins:

"I expect him back in the lineup tonight, but we're working on some things that will allow him to play every day and not experience that pain. Sometimes when you get in a funky position out there and have to make a throw, given his history, it can flare up on him a little bit. So, he's been off a few days and felt good yesterday during his workouts and on the field throwing across the diamond, so I expect him back there tonight."

Will Zimmerman's name be penciled into tonight's lineup when it's released later today? We'll have to wait and see. Until then, links and lots of them... starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:



• "I watch every game, in person, home and away." - "Recapping Mike Rizzo’s Facebook Q&A" - Curly W Live

• "Through seven games, the Nationals two best players are those who will be most affected by Ryan Zimmerman’s return." - "The early impact of Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Williams said it is 'very realistic' that Zimmerman will start at third base Wednesday." - "Ryan Zimmerman hopes to return Wednesday, changes throwing motion, routine" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Rendon went 2-4 to continue a hot start at the plate this season. He doubled home two runs and singled in another for three RBI." - "Nationals' Anthony Rendon right at home at third base in 5-0 victory" - Brian McNally, Washington Times

• "LaRoche going for second base in the sixth was another example of the Nats turning up their aggressive play." - "LaRoche, Rendon find several ways to beat the Marlins" - Byron Kerr,

• "Ramos was in the Nationals clubhouse on Tuesday and spoke for the first time since the injury." - "Wilson Ramos after hand surgery: ‘I feel unlucky’" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos spoke to local media Tuesday, a little over a week after he broke the hamate bone in his left hand." - "Ramos expects to miss 4-8 weeks with broken hand" - Bill Ladson, News

• "That’s not to say Gonzalez was in top form; he racked up a much higher pitch count than necessary and had to be pulled after six innings." - "Instant analysis: Nats 5, Marlins 0" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "The Nationals and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman are going to get creative to get him through the recurring right shoulder soreness that is again plaguing him." - "Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman adjusts to shoulder soreness" - Brian McNally, Washington Times

• "There were a handful of solid defensive plays made by the Nats today, but Rendon's charging, barehanded play on a Reed Johnson bunt in the seventh inning was huge." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams discusses Nats' 5-0 win" - Dan Kolko,

• "Gonzalez (2-0) threw a lot pitches early, but he settled down and retired the final 10 hitters before leaving the game." - "Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals - April 8, 2014" - Bill Ladson, WSH Recap

• "This season, with the help of his new catcher, Gonzalez has found a small-yet-effective way to be different..." - "Gio Gonzalez dominates Miami Marlins, lifts Washington Nationals to 5-0 win" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• ""Rendon is hitting .407 through the Nats' first seven games, with three doubles, a homer and eight RBIs." - Nationals Pastime: More on Rendon and LaRoche and their hot starts" - Dan Kolko,

• "That LaRoche made key contributions to this victory not with his bat and not with his glove but with his legs only added to the drama." - "Nationals’ aggressive baserunning pays off in win over Marlins" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "The 2014 season is still very young, but already, Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche is bucking a trend that has left its mark on his career." - "A fast start for Adam LaRoche" - Andrew Simon, All Nats All the Time


• "The details regarding Ryan Zimmerman's shoulder injury are starting to become a bit clearer, and it's actually possible that if the Washington Nationals move him over to first base, at least on a part-time basis..." - "Nationals set for infield shakeup, which has fantasy implications" - Eric Karabell, Fantasy Baseball - ESPN

• "The Toolsiest Player of Them All" - Jeff Sullivan, FiveThirtyEight

• "A few years ago, I was one of Ryan Zimmerman's biggest backers, touting him as a top 3 third base option and owning him in several leagues." - "Roto Roundup: Ryan Braun, Yordano Ventura, Brandon Belt, Jose Abreu and others" - Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams

• "On Wednesday night, Hand is being called into action as an emergency starter in place of Jacob Turner." - "Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals - April 9, 2014" - Joe Frisaro, Preview

• "On a night when the temperatures dipped into the low 50s, the Marlins’ bats finally cooled down." - "Miami Marlins’ hitting cools off in 5-0 loss to Washington..." - Tom D'Angelo,

• "On Tuesday, Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals gave the Marlins a reality check with a 5-0 victory in what was the first stern test for Miami." - "Miami Marlins given reality check, shut out by Washington Nationals" - Clark Spencer,

• "The Miami Marlins just could not find an offensive rhythm despite getting opportunities on a heavily-worked Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals." - "MLB Scores: Miami Marlins 0, Washington Nationals 5" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes

• "The Miami Marlins were the flavor of the week in the National League." - "Washington Nationals blank Miami Marlins 5-0 behind Gio Gonzalez"- Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel


Low-A Hagerstown: "The Hagerstown Suns (5-1) put up an offensive assault against the Delmarva Shorebirds (2-4) on Tuesday night..." - "Suns sweep double-header with Shorebirds" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

High-A Potomac: "Todd Hankins showcased two of the things his skipper wants to see this season in the Carolina Mudcats’ season-opening 6-3 win Thursday against Potomac." - "ZEBULON: Carolina Mudcats open with win over Potomac" - D. Clay Best,

High-A Potomac: "Nationals LHP Nick Lee (0-1), the losing pitcher, was hit hard to the tune of seven earned runs on seven hits in 1.2 innings." - "Lynchburg Spoils Potomac Home Opener with 10-7 Slugfest Win" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "Harrisburg is fresh off its first win of the season, a 6-2 triumph against New Britain on Tuesday night." - "Harrisburg Senators close out road trip Wednesday night as Thursday's home opener looms" - Dave Sottile,

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost a 7-1 decision to the Pawtucket Red Sox on Tuesday night in the second of a three-game series." - "Red Sox beat Chiefs, 7-1" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "The game was not as close as the final score would suggest, as the Hillcats defeated the Nationals, 10-7 in Potomac’s home opener." - "Last Night In Woodbridge" - Luke Erickson,

• "With a runner on third and no outs in the third inning, former N.C. State and current Durham Bulls starter Nathan Karns struck out the heart of the Charlotte Knights lineup to keep the run from scoring." - "Ex-N.C. State hurler Nathan Karns has ups, downs in Bulls' loss" - Harold Gutman, The Herald-Sun


• "In what looks to be the most competitive season in the history of the Nationals’ presidents race, Thomas Jefferson is now the only president who has yet to taste victory." - "Video: Presidents trample Jefferson, keep him winless" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "The Miami Marlins came into this three-game series with the Washington Nationals in unfamiliar territory of late: first place." - "Washington Nationals Game 7 Review: Nats blank Miami in series opener 5-0" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "The Nats offense was quiet until the sixth inning when they struck again." - "Nationals Blank Marlins Behind Gonzalez’s Strong Start" - Nick Fineman, The Nats Blog

• "Up above, a shot from TV of the scoreboard Gio Gonzalez broke with a foul ball in the third inning Tuesday night." - "When Gio Gonzalez broke a scoreboard with a foul ball" - Nats Enquirer

• "Rendon, with assistance from LaRoche, led the Nationals offense Tuesday night." - "Injuries to Zimmerman, Ramos put early obstacles in Nats' path" - Nationals Buzz: Rachel Levitin,

• "In his pregame press conference before Tuesday’s game with the Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams clarified his remarks about Ryan Zimmerman’s ailing right shoulder." - "Washington Nationals Pregame: Matt Williams describes Zimmerman’s shoulder as 'degenerative'" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "My usual call to be nicer to Strasburg (now with added Bryce!)" - Harper, Nationals Baseball


Phillies: "When writing about Jonathan Papelbon in the year 2014, there’s a few things that we can stipulate as fact..." - "Jonathan Papelbon’s Issues Go Beyond Declining Velocity" - Mike Petriello, FanGraphs Baseball

Mets: "With Bobby Parnell out for the rest of the season following Tommy John surgery, the Mets have turned to Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde at the back end of their bullpen..." - "An early look at Mets relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde" - Chris McShane, Amazin' Avenue

Braves: "The last time Bartolo Colon pitched against Atlanta, most current Braves were in elementary school." - "ATLANTA: Offensively challenged Braves can't score" - David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution