(Hunter Martin/GETTY IMAGES)

Zimmerman would probably play during the middle of the season, but the risk of Zimmerman pulling his hamstring and delaying his offseason work outweighs the reward of him playing.

“A pulled hamstring, it’s something that stays with you,” Johnson said. “What’s the stakes? I’d like to see him play. Obviously, he gives us a better chance. But it’s not worth the risk.”

Zimmerman missed the final 10 games of 2010 with an oblique injury. Zimmerman thinks he should be available to pinch-hit over the next two days, and he hopes he can start the Nationals’ 2011 finale.

“If I feel good tomorrow, I’d like to play the last game,” Zimmerman said.

If Zimmerman is finished for the year, he will have hit .289/.355/.443 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs in 440 plate appearances over 101 games. Zimmerman missed two months, from early April to mid June, after undergoing surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle.

What comes next for Zimmerman? He and the team could increase negotiations on a contract extension that would keep Zimmerman in Washington for the better part of his career.