Jun 2, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT
Zimmerman set to return - Ryan Zimmerman will play nine innings in left field with Single-A Potomac Monday night as he continues his recovery from a fractured right thumb. If all goes well, he should be ready to go for Tuesday’s Nats game in Washington when the Phillies come to town.
Having Zimmerman back will certainly be a boost for a Nationals lineup that scored the third-least amount of runs in the month of May. It will also give folks an extra reason to tune in to Nats games this week. Zimmerman is expected to play in left field, a brand new position for the former Gold Glove-winning third baseman. Will he look out of place, or will the transition be seamless?
How Zimmerman fares in left field could have a lot of interesting effects on the Nationals’ future. For one, Bryce Harper will return at some point this season. When he does it could force the Nationals to make a tough decision as to whether they want to keep Denard Span or Danny Espinosa in the everyday lineup. Zimmerman could show promise and give the Nats another option for his future position, or it could not work out and put them back to square one. Wherever he settles will help determine the immediate futures of several of his teammates.
Gio to make rehab start - Gio Gonzalez threw a simulated game of about 50 pitches on Sunday and is now on track to make a minor league rehab appearance on Friday. That will then set him up for a return somewhere around June 11. If Gonzalez can return and pitch like he did in his first two years in Washington, he will certainly make a big difference.
From 2012 through 2013, Gonzalez held a 3.12 ERA for the Nationals across 395 innings. He was their horse and a big reason they posted winning records in both years. This season, however, he just wasn’t the same guy through nine starts. Gio currently sits with a 4.62 ERA on the year.
The Nationals’ rotation has a chance to be better than it was last year with the emergence of Doug Fister and the continued improvement of Tanner Roark. That premise, however, is highly dependent on Gonzalez rounding back into form.
Now healthy, will they heat up? - Once the Nationals get Zimmerman back, that will give them all but one member of their Opening Day lineup (Harper). They have shown signs over the last week of getting their offense together, but may have taken a step back in Sunday’s shutout loss to the Texas Rangers. Will the Nats start scoring runs? Now is certainly the time. We could find out a lot about this team this week with just about everyone back. It is becoming harder and harder to use their injuries as an excuse. If they continue to struggle through the month of June, it may be time to consider a trade.
MLB Draft starts Thursday – The 2014 MLB Draft is this week with the first and second rounds taking place on Thursday night. Rounds 3 through 10 will then go down Friday, with the final 30 rounds taking place on Sunday. The Nationals pick 18th overall in the first round and 57th in the second round. We’ll have some preview stuff leading up to Thursday and plenty of coverage of who the Nationals pick. The Nats have been very successful in scouting talent in recent years and this draft could behold some future stars for Washington.
NL East Standings
Offensive game of the week: Anthony Rendon 5/31 vs. Rangers – 4-for-5, HR, 3 R, RBI
Pitching game of the week: Stephen Strasburg 5/30 vs. Rangers – 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 ER, BB, 9 SO, 88 pitches, 60 strikes.
Quote of the week:
Adam LaRoche on Yu Darvish’s 59 mile per hour curveball for strike three:
It was interesting. I thought he’d lost it. I thought it was going off the backstop when he released it. I just thought it slipped. And then it starts dropping in and I froze. I was impressed with that one.
Tweet of the week:
Denard Span lives to review movies on Twitter:
X men was def entertaining. Best comic book movie I’ve seen in a minute
— Denard Span (@thisisdspan) May 29, 2014
MON – OFF
TUE – 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Zimmermann)
WED – 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Treinen)
THU – 4:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Strasburg)
FRI – 10:10 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Fister)
SAT – 10:10 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Roark)
SUN – 4:10 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Zimmermann)
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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