The Nationals will use today’s rainout as an opportunity to manage Jordan Zimmermann’s season innings limit, skipping him until his next turn comes Sunday in Baltimore. Zimmermann had been schedule to start today until forecasted rain and thunderstorms postponed the game against the Pirates at Nationals Park.
The Nationals will remain on schedule with their probable pitchers otherwise, with Tom Gorzelanny and Livan Hernandez starting Wednesday and Thursday in New York, followed by Jason Marquis and John Lannan on Friday and Saturday in Baltimore.
A Nationals team spokesman emphasized there is no injury concern with Zimmermann, who is in his first full major league season following rehab from Tommy John surgery.
The Nationals have long planned to cap Zimmermann’s innings this season as a means to ease him back into the majors and protect his reconstructed right elbow. Over the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Zimmermann threw just 162 regular season innings in the minors and majors combined.
The Nationals have not decided on, or at least not publicly declared, the number of innings Zimmermann will be limited to this season, but it will likely be somewhere between 150 and 165. Zimmermann has thrown 48 innings in eight starts this year, during which he has a 4.13 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 11 walks.
Zimmermann, 24, has been consistently durable this year, having pitched at least into the sixth inning every start and twice surpassing 100 pitches. After each game, he said he felt strong until the end of his outing.
The Nationals’ reshuffling of their rotation means one minor, personal side effect for Zimmermann: A native of Auburndale, Wisc., Zimmermann will not pitch during the Nationals’ three-game series in Milwaukee that starts Monday. He has never pitched a professional game in his home state, but would have started Monday had he been pushed back to Wednesday’s start.