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Nats skipper Williams high on Zimmerman

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- During his 17-year playing career, Nationals manager Matt Williams hit .268 with 378 home runs and 1,218 RBIs, winning four National League Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards at third base and earning five NL All-Star selections.

But Williams said Nats third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is better than he ever was.

"He's got so much more ability than I had," Williams said. "What I see in Ryan is a true run producer. And he can do it many ways. I've seen him hit for a very good average. He hits the ball to right-center as well as anybody. Phenomenal fielder, athletic. He could play shortstop if he wanted to. I see a guy that's emerging as a leader on the club."

Williams believes Zimmerman's right shoulder problems are a thing of the past. However, Zimmerman's right arm needs to get stronger.

"I know that from talking to him and talking to the doctors, trainers and our rehab coordinators, his shoulder is 100 percent," Williams said. "It needs to get a little bit stronger, and that's what he's working on. Again, there's a process of injuries. You get injured. They fix it. Then you rehab it, and then you get back into playing shape.

"At the end of last year, he was just getting back to the point where it wasn't a struggle for him to get a ball across the diamond. That is just arm strength. He's working on that now, he'll continue to work on it. And he's going to be just fine."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats.
Read More: Washington Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman