(John McDonnell / The Washington Post)


The Nationals, as expected, today welcomed back franchise third baseman Ryan Zimmerman after he missed 15 days on the disabled list and sent Anthony Rendon, a presumed future organizational pillar, back to Class AA Harrisburg for more seasoning.

Zimmerman will likely start at third base tonight against the Pirates as the Nationals open a three-game series in Pittsburgh. Zimmerman missed 14 games with a strained left hamstring and on Wednesday night went 0 for 3 during a six-inning rehab appearance at Class A Potomac. Before his injury, Zimmerman was hitting .226 with a .670 OPS and one homer.

Rendon, 22, went 6 for 25 with five walks in his brief first stint in the major leagues. After a slow start, Rendon reached base in nine of his final 15 plate appearances. Rendon will likely return at some point this season, at least as a September call-up if not sooner. The Nationals can recall him at any point with little bearing on his contractual rights.