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NATIONALS NOTEBOOK

Zimmerman Continues to Wait and See

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By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 29, 2008

SAN DIEGO, May 28 -- After performing strengthening exercises for his sore left shoulder Wednesday afternoon, Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman still didn't know how much longer he would be out of the lineup.

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Maybe he'd be ready to play Wednesday, he said.

Or, maybe he'd sit out until the team finished its road trip Sunday in Arizona.

That's the definition of a day-to-day injury. It's also the definition of an annoying one. He was out of Washington's starting lineup again Wednesday against San Diego -- the third straight game he's missed. In the two previous contests played without their regular No. 3 hitter, the Nationals managed just three and two runs, losing both times.

"It's such a day-to-day thing, you can't ever say," said Zimmerman, who said his soreness had improved from Tuesday. "I could show up tomorrow, feel great and play or I could show up for the next four days, not feel good and not play until we get home. So, we'll see. The big thing is just to not reaggravate it, because I've made so much progress. There's no reason to go out there and play when I'm almost back, then take a funny swing and start all over again."

Manager Manny Acta said it was likely Zimmerman would be able to play again before the Nationals returned home. "I wouldn't push [his absence] that far -- the whole Arizona series," Acta said. "He's day-to-day. I wouldn't make any predictions past tomorrow."

Hill Recovers Well

Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill looked unsteady in his five innings Tuesday night, walking a career-high five and struggling to locate two of his three main pitches. The last 20 pitches of the night, though -- thrown over two scoreless innings -- offered some encouragement.

Then, Hill's condition Wednesday offered even more. Hill felt no complications from his 112-pitch outing, and will be almost certain to make his next start. He had missed his previous turn in the rotation because of right elbow pain and a corresponding cortisone shot.


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