Ryan Zimmerman returns to lineup after resting shoulder


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Following a precautionary day of rest for his surgically repaired right shoulder, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is back in the starting lineup Wednesday for the second of a three-game homestand against Arizona.

Both Zimmerman and Nationals manager Davey Johnson characterized the off day as nothing worrisome, with Zimmerman saying that the two had been discussing a day off since last week.

“We’re about to play 20 games in a row, so he gave me two days off,” Zimmerman said. “Anytime you have surgery, the next year, whether it’s minor surgery or major surgery, you’re going to have times when you get sore. …We knew we had this long stretch that’s about to come up before the All-Star break and obviously it’s a very important stretch for us. Just made sense to get me two days right there and be ready to go.”

After playing through pain for much of last season, Zimmerman had surgery in November to repair an inflamed A/C joint in his right shoulder. So far this season, the 28-year-old is hitting .268/.349/.461. Chad Tracy started at third base on Tuesday before Zimmerman came in to pinch hit in the eighth inning.

While Zimmerman hopes that the need for precautionary days of rest will be minimized as the season wears on, both he and Johnson understand that the safest approach is sometimes the best one.

“I’ll monitor it but I said all along that I thought middle of June, late June, it takes a lot of time because you’re throwing from so many different angles and the ones that are up [high] has been the ones where you want to get to that position naturally, and he’s getting close to getting to that without thinking about it,” Johnson said. “He’s still feeling his way through that but I think he’s getting to the point where he’s about ready to forget thinking about it.”

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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Adam Kilgore · June 26, 2013