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Zimmerman ups rehab, travels with team

@oapostrophesd
June 7, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- First baseman Ryan Zimmerman is traveling with the Nationals again, a positive sign for the veteran who has been on the injured list since April 28 because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. His return to the active roster isn’t exactly right around the corner, but

SAN DIEGO -- First baseman Ryan Zimmerman is traveling with the Nationals again, a positive sign for the veteran who has been on the injured list since April 28 because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

His return to the active roster isn’t exactly right around the corner, but he can at least see it on the horizon. That wasn’t necessarily the case in late May, when he stayed behind in Washington for treatment as the Nationals headed off for a trip through Atlanta and Cincinnati.

“It’s really coming along,” Zimmerman said Friday. “The last few days, I’ve been able to do some baseball stuff, which is nice. It’s starting to build up. Some running stuff, that’s going to be the last thing to come. But it’s been nice to be able to do hitting, taking a few ground balls and throwing, so I can be ahead of the game when the running comes around.”

Zimmerman, 34, started feeling symptoms April 23 after jumping for a high throw. He tried to play through the pain, but soon shut it down. Having been through plantar fasciitis before, he realized more harm than good comes from playing through it. He was limited to 90 games in 2015 when battling the same ailment in his left foot.

“If it pops up a little bit, you can play through it and treat it,” he said. “But when it got to the point that it did, you’re not helping the team. It’s not worth it.”

Zimmerman slashed .213/.302/.373 in the first month of 2019 but is only two years removed from an All-Star season that included 33 doubles, 36 home runs and a .930 OPS.

Manager Dave Martinez said Zimmerman’s recent batting cage sessions have been sharp. After Zimmerman has healed enough to run on flat ground, a quick Minor League rehab stint is in order. Meanwhile, Martinez is happy to see Zimmerman with the team.

“He’s one of our leaders in the clubhouse,” Martinez said. “I like for those guys to be around. Not only can he help himself on the mental side -- because it’s frustrating being on the injured list -- but you can help some of the other players just by being around them.”

Ross stretching out

Right-hander Joe Ross threw four innings and 54 pitches for Triple-A Fresno on Thursday as he converts back to starting duty. Ross had a 9.22 ERA in 16 relief appearances with the Nationals this season before being sent to Fresno to build up his pitch counts again.

Veteran reliever Fernando Rodney took the loss as Fresno fell 6-4 at New Orleans. Rodney entered with the game tied at 4 in the eighth and allowed two runs (one earned) in his one inning. It was his second outing since he joined the Nationals’ organization.

Shaun O'Neill is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @oapostrophesd.