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Posted at 01:28 AM ET, 06/12/2011

Ryan Zimmerman is close to returning to the Nationals, giving them ‘a shot in the arm’

Ryan Zimmerman continued his rehab from abdominal surgery tonight with Class AAA Syracuse, going 2 for 4 with a double. Zimmerman played in all nine innings and showed again that his swing takes little time to return after a long layoff. Zimmerman has not played in the majors since April 9, and yet he is 8 for 18 with four doubles and a triple on his rehab assignment.

Manager Jim Riggleman still does not want to put any public timetable on Zimmerman’s return. Zimmerman has expressed some discomfort with throwing, and Riggleman does not want to make Zimmerman think he should rush back before he is 100 percent.

But Zimmerman has played nine innings two days in a row, and he will likely join the Nationals on Tuesday – meaning Sunday will mark the last time the Nationals with their best player on the disabled list.

“That’d be a shot in the arm,” right fielder Jayson Werth said. “When he’s not in the lineup, it leaves a void there for sure.”

The Nationals also have a new injury to contend with. Roger Bernadina was a late scratch Saturday evening with tightness in his left hamstring. Before the game, Bernadina cramped up while shagging fly balls in the outfield. Bernadina received treatment following the game and said, “It’s really tight right now.” He hoped to play Sunday, but was not sure he’ll be able to.

It seems unlikely that Bernadina will play tomorrow, especially when one more day off would actually allow him two straight days off to heal the injury, when you include the Nationals’ day off Monday.

By  |  01:28 AM ET, 06/12/2011

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