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Posted at 11:52 PM ET, 08/27/2011

‘Dragging’ Ryan Zimmerman to get rest, Jayson Werth adjusts to center field


Nationals Manager Davey Johnson double-switched Ryan Zimmerman out Saturday night’s 6-3 loss in the ninth inning, which turned out to be an early start on a long break for Zimmerman. Johnson, feeling that Zimmerman is tiring, will give him the day off Sunday, allowing Zimmerman two consecutive days off with Monday’s scheduled off day.

Zimmerman underwent surgery in May to repair a torn abdominal muscle that kept him out months. Johnson said Zimmerman has no specific injury now, just typical wear and tear.

“I know he’s been dragging,” Johnson said. “He’s just so valuable to the ballclub. I wanted to give him a breather, but we’ve got an off day coming Monday. I’m planning on giving him tomorrow off. I saw it the last few days, three or four days.”

Zimmerman started August on a tear, hitting .385/.430/.628 for the first 20 games. But if he is tired, it has reflected in his recent performance. Over the past four games, Zimmerman has gone 1 for 17 with a walk, a double and eight strikeouts.

“I just think he’s been playing hard, playing a lot,” Johnson said. “With the day off coming, it’s a chance to give him a couple days.”

Jayson Werth is also dealing with minor ailments. He fouled a ball off his foot late in Saturday’s game and afterward, he iced it down and then limped through the locker room. He said it should not affect his playing status, and Johnson concurred. “He’s a gamer,” Johnson said. Werth wore some kind of tape or brace on his right hand, wrapped around his thumb and wrist.

Werth also made his first start in center field, a development that he did not ask for, but welcomed. He told Johnson about a month ago that he could play center if needed, but never requested to play there.

“Davey makes the lineup,” Werth said. “I didn’t ask to play there or anything like that. I think his exact words were that he wants to mix it up.”

Werth, who hit his 16th home run of the season, handled two plays Saturday night, making a pair of routine catches, one of them on the warning track. Even with his experience, Werth thinks it will be an adjustment moving from right to center.

“It’s totally different from one of the corners and I feel like the corners are different from each other also,” Werth said. “It’s a little bit different, but I think I’e played there enough to be OK. I always say it takes me like 10 days to figure it out, anyway, especially with the ball right at you. I feel like I’m capable of playing there, but I’m probably a better right fielder than I am a center fielder. I think right field is my true position. I can do it, if that’s what he wants.”

By  |  11:52 PM ET, 08/27/2011

 
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