Zimmerman says he’ll return to majors Friday

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said he will come off the disabled list Friday night in Pittsburgh after his left hamstring felt strong during a rehab assignment at Class A Potomac, giving the Nationals’ struggling offense a boost.

Zimmerman, who wore No. 33 in deference to Potomac’s No. 11, shortstop Jason Martinson, played six innings, went 0 for 3 and reached on an error, running hard and without issue. In the field, Zimmerman fielded every ball within his reach and made two strong throws, even though he did not receive any chances on routine groundballs.

“Everything went great,” Zimmerman said. “Everything felt fine.”

Zimmerman will work out Thursday at Nationals Park, then fly to Pittsburgh and join the Nationals for a weekend series against the Pirates. Zimmerman appeared in only one minor league game during this rehab stint. Tuesday, he prepared to play before inclement weather pushed back the start time twice. Zimmerman did not want to test his hamstring after an intermittent warmup.

“It only took seven or eight days for it to feel completely better,” Zimmerman said. “But then I had to get back in shape and then get ready.”

— Adam Kilgore

Werth still out of lineup

Jayson Werth’s sore left ankle was still swollen on Wednesday afternoon, two days after he fouled a ball off it in the eighth inning of a game, and he was held out of the lineup for the second straight game. He is also dealing with a tight right hamstring. Werth said he is more affected by his ankle.

Werth said the doctor told him he hit a sensitive area of the ankle filled with nerves, but narrowly missed a more serious injury on the tendon or vein.

Meantime, Stephen Strasburg threw a clean bullpen session before Wednesday’s game. He still plans to make his next scheduled start Saturday at Pittsburgh.

Also, with Manager Davey Johnson yet again looking for a spark, for a slow-starting offense, he sat second baseman Danny Espinosa, turning instead to Steve Lombardozzi. It marked the first time this season that Espinosa was a healthy scratch.

— James Wagner