For the first time in more than six weeks, Ryan Zimmerman is back in the lineup and playing left field against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park.
Zimmerman landed on the 15-day disabled list April 12 after fracturing his left thumb while sliding headfirst into second base. Originally, manager Matt Williams had said that Zimmerman could be back in the big league lineup as early as four weeks after suffering the injury. Unfortunately for the Nationals, however, four weeks had past and Zimmerman had yet to begin a rehab assignment.
That changed last Friday, as the face of the franchise reported to Class-A Potomac for what many correctly predicted would be a short rehab assignment. Zimmerman’s rehab assignment was not only meant to get his timing back, but also to get him acclimated to a position he had never played in his professional career: left field.
Zimmerman, who has been the Nationals third baseman for the last 10 years, is expected to play left field everyday until Bryce Harper returns in mid-July. The 29-year-old had been doing drills in left field for several days prior to making his debut at the position on Friday.
In four rehab games, all in left field, Zimmerman went 5-14 with the bat and didn’t have many chances in left field, but looked comfortable at the position nonetheless. After making one final appearance for Potomac on Monday, Zimmerman was ready and was activated from the disabled list.
In a corresponding move, the Nationals optioned utility player Tyler Moore to Triple-A Syracuse.