In advance of tonight’s series opener with the NL East’s second place Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals reinstated both starter Stephen Strasburg and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman from their respective stints on the Disabled List. Strasburg has been out of action since early June, which Zimmerman has been on the DL since early May.
In order to make room on the roster, the Nationals optioned Wander Suero to Triple-A after they’d previously optioned righty Trevor Gott back to Triple-A last Sunday.
In his weekly visit with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked about what he expects from Strasburg and how the Nats would get their first baseman at bats once both were back.
Strasburg made two rehab starts before he came off the DL today, walking one and striking out 12 in nine innings on the mound for the High-A Potomac Nationals.
“He was pain-free and the ball came out of his hand well,” Rizzo said when asked for an update on the right-hander.
“His velocity was where it was supposed to be, his stuff was there, so a healthy Stras is all I’m looking for, because when he’s healthy he’s as good as anybody, and I can’t wait to get him back on the team and get him in the rotation.
“I think that will be a huge kickstart for us because our rotation has been scuffling without him, and I think that he’ll be a huge asset to us going down the stretch. And all we ask for him to be is Stephen Strasburg and that’s plenty good for anybody.”
In 13 starts before he landed on the Disabled List with right shoulder inflammation on June 9th, Strasburg was (6-6) with a 3.46 ERA, a 3.57 FIP, 19 walks (2.72 BB/9), 95 Ks (10.60 K/9), and a .227/.281/.399 line against in 80 2⁄3 IP.
Zimmerman has been out of action in the majors since May 9th dealing with an oblique injury.
In his absence, Mark Reynolds and Matt Adams (and occasionally Daniel Murphy) have been handling first base duties, but Rizzo said Zimmerman would be back in the mix at first once he returned.
“He’s going to get his at bats at first base because he’s an impact player and a guy that’s carried us for months at a time when he was healthy in the past,” Rizzo said, “so he’ll play first base for us. It will give us an opportunity to get [Matt] Adams in there against some right-handed starters and come off the bench against right-handed relievers, and have a bench of a [Mark] Reynolds, Adams, and Zimmerman all available to hit the long ball for us is an extremely valuable asset to have down the stretch.”
How long will it take Zimmerman to get up to speed after three rehab games in which he went 4 for 9 with a double and a home run?
The second half starts tonight and the Nationals have some reinforcements for the series with the Braves.