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Kintzler close, set for rehab assignment Sunday

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Brandon Kintzler will make a Minor League rehab appearance on Sunday for Class A Advanced Potomac, bringing the Nationals closer to having their new-look bullpen at full strength for the first time.

Kintzler, who has been on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right forearm since June 10, will back up right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who will start the game in his recovery from a right hamstring injury. If all goes well, the Nationals could activate Kintzler on their upcoming road trip to Tampa.

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WASHINGTON -- Brandon Kintzler will make a Minor League rehab appearance on Sunday for Class A Advanced Potomac, bringing the Nationals closer to having their new-look bullpen at full strength for the first time.

Kintzler, who has been on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right forearm since June 10, will back up right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who will start the game in his recovery from a right hamstring injury. If all goes well, the Nationals could activate Kintzler on their upcoming road trip to Tampa.

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Once Kintzler returns, it will be the first time the Nats' relief corps will be together since the team acquired Kelvin Herrera from the Royals on Monday. It will give Washington four relievers in the back end of the bullpen with closing experience -- Kintzler, Herrera, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle -- giving manager Dave Martinez tons of flexibility late in games.

"One is to make sure [Kintzler] comes out of this OK, but once that happens we'll sit down and re-evaluate how we're going to use all those guys," Martinez said. "He's definitely a big addition to our bullpen for sure. Any one of those guys, it's nice to be able to match those guys up according to lineups and pinch-hitters and stuff like that."

At the time he landed on the DL, Kintzler took away some positives from his potential short stint, mainly because it would give his arm a break. He had pitched frequently to start the season, appearing in 31 games and tossing 28 1/3 innings before he landed on the DL.

Worth noting
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman is "about a week away" from starting a Minor League rehab assignment, Martinez said before Saturday's game against the Phillies. Zimmerman (back) has been fielding grounders and taking batting practice lately, but has started seeing major improvements during the past week.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals