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Washington Nationals’ lineup for third of three with Texas Rangers in D.C.

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Ryan Zimmerman is dealing with a back issue, but he’s taking the smart route and resting so it doesn’t become a bigger issue for the veteran first baseman.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Strong a start as he’s gotten off to this season, and Dusty Baker did predict that might be the case, the Washington Nationals’ manager said the concern has been keeping his veteran first baseman, Ryan Zimmerman, healthy.

After years of dealing with a variety of injuries, Zimmerman started the season in good health for a change and through 57 games and 230 plate appearances, the 32-year-old first baseman has put up a gaudy .365/.409/.697 line with 19 doubles and 17 home runs on the season.

“We’ve just got to keep him healthy,” Baker told reporters during the Nationals’ stay in San Francisco.

“When the season started I told you I thought he was my pick to click, you know what I mean, and he’s making us all look good.”

A few days after Baker’s comments, however, Zimmerman tweaked his back on a diving play in LA on Tuesday.

He played the next two games, one in Los Angeles and one back in the nation’s capital after the back issue first cropped up, going 3 for 8 with a double and a home run, but decided it would be better to rest the injury before it got worse.

“Just one of those things where knowing what I’ve known in the past,” Zimmerman told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Pete Kerzel, “if you continue to play and it gets worse, then something bad happens. But if you give it a day or two, then you can kind of just stop it right there.”

Since it’s early in the season, Zimmerman said he’d take things on a day-to-day basis for now, but that he expected to be back by Monday night.

When Zimmerman didn’t start against Texas Rangers’ lefty Martin Perez or come on to hit late in what ended up a 6-3 loss on Saturday, Baker acknowledged that the back issue was what kept Zimmerman on the bench.

“If he had been available he would have been playing against a left today,” Baker said.

“And if he was available he would have been hitting against the lefty with the runner on third.

“So, I don’t know if he’s — he wasn’t available today, no, and then he’s questionable for tomorrow.”

Zimmerman is resting again today in the series finale with the Texas Rangers, and Trea Turner is getting a day off as well...

HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR TODAY’S GAME WITH THE RANGERS: