Jun 2, 2014, 5:08 PM EDT
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Hello from Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Class A Potomac Nationals, and for the third straight day home to left fielder Ryan Zimmerman. Yes, left fielder.
Zimmerman is once again in the outfield tonight for what should be the final appearance of his brief rehab assignment. He’s batting third, wearing No. 24 and scheduled to play all nine innings for the first time. Members of the Nationals coaching staff and front office, led by manager Matt Williams, are expected to be here to see Zimmerman with their own eyes. If all goes well, he’ll be activated off the disabled list for tomorrow’s series opener against the Phillies, returning to the lineup 7 1/2 weeks after fracturing his left thumb in Atlanta.
I’ll have some first-hand updates of Zimmerman’s at-bats and any action he sees in the field, so please check back…
SALEM RED SOX at POTOMAC NATIONALS
Where: Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
Weather: Partly cloudy, 77 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF
2B Tony Renda
SS Stephen Perez
LF Ryan Zimmerman
DH Oscar Tejeda
1B Shawn Pleffner
RF Randolph Oduber
3B Khayyan Norfolk
CF Will Piwnica-Worms
C Pedro Severino
(RHP John Simms)
RF Matty Johnson
SS Mike Miller
2B Reed Gragnani
3B Ryan Dent
DH Mario Martinez
LF Kevin Heller
CF Aneury Tavarez
1B Tim Roberson
C Leonel Escobar
(RHP Pat Light)
Plate: Ben Levin
Bases: Travis Godec
7:08 p.m. — And we’re underway with a ball high from John Simms to Matty Johnson, as a familiar looking guy wearing an unfamiliar No. 24 jersey watches from 275 feet away in left field. This is going to take some getting used to.
7:33 p.m. — No action for Zimmerman in left field in the top of the first, but he made the most of his first at-bat of the night. Zim roped a 1-0 pitch from right-hander Pat Light to right field for a solid single. He then went first to third on Shawn Pleffner’s single to left, taking the extra base when Kevin Heller bobbled the ball. He’s wearing something that looks kind of like a mini oven mitt on his right hand, protecting that thumb from being re-injured. Potomac leads 1-0 after one.
7:55 p.m. — Three defensive innings in the books, and the only analysis I can offer about Zimmerman is this: He looks fine jogging back and forth from the dugout to his spot in left field. Hasn’t had anything hit his way yet, aside from a bloop foul ball behind third base that he sort of went after even though he had no chance of making the play.
8:01 p.m. — In his second at-bat of the night, Zim smoked a drive to deep right-center. It was caught by Aneury Tavarez just short of the warning track, but in the bigger picture, that’s a good sign. When Zimmerman is going well at the plate, he hits balls exactly like that: line drives to center and to the right of center field. Still 1-0 P-Nats after three.
8:30 p.m. — We are heading to the bottom of the fifth here, the P-Nats now trailing 2-1 after Salem scored a pair off Simms in the top of the inning. One of those was a home run way over the left-field fence, the only ball hit anywhere near Zimmerman so far tonight. I must say, he looked very natural turning around and watching that ball sail over his head. I certainly hope we actually get to see him attempt to field a ball before this game is over. Only four innings left, though.
8:46 p.m. — Breaking news! There has been a flyball to left field! Tavarez lofted one down the left-field line in the top of the sixth and Zim ranged over to make the routine catch. Nothing unusual about the play, but he looked perfectly comfortable making it.
8:50 p.m. — And in his third at-bat of the night, Zimmerman sends a flyball to right field. Got under it. So he’s 1-for-3 tonight, 4-for-13 overall on rehab. It’s 2-2 here after six.
9:32 p.m. — And in what will probably be his final at-bat of the night (and his rehab), Zimmerman records an infield single. He bounced a ball up the middle that was stopped by the shortstop, who wasn’t able to attempt a throw. So he’s 2-for-4 tonight, 5-for-14 overall. We head to the ninth with Potomac trailing 4-2, so this could be it.
9:59 p.m. — Game-tying, 2-run single in the bottom of the ninth by my man Will Piwncia-Worms! And then a walk-off single by Tony Renda. Potomac wins 5-4, and Ryan Zimmerman’s night in left field included only one defensive chance: a routine flyout in the sixth. There wasn’t even a base hit to him. He never had to make a throw with the ball in play. We’ll see what he has to say now, but I fully expect to see him at Nationals Park tomorrow night, probably in left field, against the Phillies.
NL EAST STANDINGS
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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