Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman remained home in Viera as the Nationals sent split squads to play the Astros and Braves. Zimmerman rested “general soreness,” Manager Matt Williams said, and also continued his acclimation to first base, a position the Nationals expect he will play in spot duty this season.
“He’s been working at first, turning different ways than he’s used to turning,” Williams said. “We’re just giving him a day. He’s good, though.”
Zimmerman has yet to make his debut at first base this spring, but Williams hopes Zimmerman to see action in a game “as soon as we can,” he said. Zimmerman, who has never played on the right side of the infield, is still learning the details of the position.
“Yeah, I could play right now,” Zimmerman said. “I wouldn’t be 100 percent comfortable. But at the end of the day, you catch the ball and you either run to first or flip it to the pitcher. It’s not anything terribly difficult.”
Zimmerman’s lack of comfort comes mainly from the details of first base, not necessarily fielding balls from a new perspective.
“I haven’t done it much yet,” Zimmerman said. “We’ve really only done two sort of sessions there, I guess. But I’m not worried about the groundballs or anything like that. It’s just more the responsibilities and learning how to play the position. They have a lot more going on over there – cut-offs, relays. Just a lot more playing there, and it’ll take a while to learn it.”
The Nationals are also resting left-handed pitching prospect Sammy Solis, who has not thrown in a game since March 2 because of stiffness in his back. Williams expects Solis, who is in competition to earn a spot as the Nationals’ second left-handed reliever, to return soon.
“He had an issue with his back,” Williams said. “We’re making sure that we progress him. Any time you’re out for a few days this time of year, you have to get back progressing the right way. We’re taking those steps and getting him back into his bullpens. We’ll get him into a game pretty soon. It shouldn’t be long.”
Barry Svrluga contributed to this report.
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