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Nationals Injury Update: Ryan Zimmerman making progress on way toward return

Ryan Zimmerman has been on the DL since June 11th, but the Washington Nationals' first baseman took the first steps towards a return in the last few days as he tests out custom-made orthotics which will hopefully help his problem with plantar fasciitis.

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While his Nationals teammates were taking batting practice this afternoon, before the second game of three with the Atlanta Braves in D.C., currently DL'd first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was on the field taking throws at first base.

Zimmerman has been out of action with plantar fasciitis in his left foot since June 11th.

"He's ramping it up. He's just starting to swing, he got his orthotics in, they feel good on his feet, it's helping and he's starting his progression..." -Matt Williams on Ryan Zimmerman working toward return

In six games this month before he went on the DL, the 30-year-old infielder was 1 for 22, leaving him with a .209/.265/.346 line on the year after 56 games and 234 plate appearances, over which he connected for 12 doubles and five home runs.

Washington skipper Matt Williams updated reporters on Zimmerman yesterday and talked about his recovery again this afternoon.

"He's ramping it up," Williams said before Tuesday's series opener with the Braves. "He's just starting to swing, he got his orthotics in, they feel good on his feet, it's helping and he's starting his progression, so all of that is good news."

Asked for another update today, Williams said Zimmerman started running as well.

"He's got his orthotics," Williams explained.

"Custom-made pair of orthotics to deal with the plantar fasciitis issue. He feels good. Yesterday he was fifteen minutes on the treadmill. A brisk walk just to make sure that it's feeling okay.

"He'll continue to do that today, and we'll progress him from there into jogging, running, swinging -- he's taken dry swings, but nothing serious yet, and then grounders and games and back at it. So, for right now he's making good progress. The pressure of the plantar fasciitis is being reduced with those orthotics, and he's feeling better about it.

"So the fact that he could get on a treadmill yesterday is important. Once he feels better and he's ready to go, then it's a question of baseball shape at that point."

"I've had it," Williams said, referring, of course, to plantar fasciitis, "and any player that's ever had it, it's painful and it just doesn't seem to go away. So this apparatus will help him get over that hump and be ready to play again."

Asked if there was a target date for a return, Williams said, "No."

"It's just a question of how he feels," he added.

Zimmerman spoke to reporters about the frustration of dealing with the problem last week.

"You just kind of hang out and do nothing so... it's pretty brutal actually. But I've just got to rest it and let it heal, and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later."