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Ryan Zimmerman passes hurdle with first spring game in the field

Ryan Zimmerman. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

JUPITER, Fla. — Two weeks into the Grapefruit League schedule, Ryan Zimmerman played in the field for the first time. Although he has already served as the designated hitter in two games, he played five innings at first base Wednesday against the Marlins. The Nationals have been cautious with Zimmerman and the plantar fasciitis in his left foot, hoping to ease him into action this spring.

“I’ll be ready to play some more after this,” Zimmerman said. ” … Everything felt great.”

When Zimmerman returned from the disabled list in the second half of 2015, he and the Nationals had the chronic foot issue under control and he played some of the best baseball of his career. Zimmerman said the Nationals are keeping the same routine and orthotics in his shoes. He said the plan to gradually ease him into games this spring was simple.

“It’s not a crazy program or anything like that,” he said. “I’m just managing it, just like probably a ton of people do on every team for other things than what I have.”

Zimmerman, who went 1 for 3, is expected to return to designated hitter on Thursday and to log more innings. “Just looking for him to get in shape and find his stroke,” Manager Dusty Baker said.

● A few hitters continue to perform well: Michael A. Taylor hit a three-run home to the opposite field and is 11 for 26 this spring. “That’s his stroke,” Baker said. “We’ve just got to teach him to lay off the high fastballs. He’s learning. He’s learning a lot.”

Jhonatan Solano, who figures to be organizational depth at catcher, went 2 for 2 and is 6 for 12 this spring. Ben Revere added a hit and is 9 for 22 so far. Baker said Bryce Harper is starting to find his stroke while Anthony Rendon is a tad behind.

Danny Espinosa snapped an 0-for-18 start to his spring with singles from each side of the plate. “He got a two-strike hit,” Baker said. “You put the ball in play and anything can happen. Big for him and his confidence.”

● With the exception of Nick Masset’s two-run outing, the Nationals bullpen dominated Wednesday’s game. Excluding Masset and the game’s starter, Blake Treinen, four relievers combined for five strikeouts, two baserunners and no runs. Felipe Rivero continues to look strong and Trevor Gott looks solid. Matt Belisle, in only his second outing of the spring because of a calf issue, notched five outs with little effort. Rafael Martin has yet to allow a run in six spring innings.

Before the game, Baker said he hopes to start putting relievers in their slotted roles and playing match-ups in the final week of spring training. So there is still plenty of time to evaluate and make decisions.

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