Zimmerman: "I am getting used to the speed of the game again"

WOODBRIDGE, Va. - Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman went 0-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout and a throwing error for the Single-A Potomac Nationals in a 6-4 setback to the Frederick Keys before 1,479 at Pfitzner Stadium. It was Zimmerman's third rehab start in the past four days as he recovers from abdominal surgery.

Zimmerman was out on a called third strike in his first at-bat against the Keys' Japanese starter Ryohei Tanaka. He also reached on a walk, flew out to right field and grounded to short. Zimmerman ran well throughout the night and showed no ill effects from his recovery from the abdomen injury.

"I felt good," Zimmerman said. "(I am) just getting back into shape and playing games. (I am) getting some chances in the field, getting some at-bats and just getting back to that game speed. Everything has been going good and today was another good day."

Zimmerman committed a throwing error in the top of the seventh inning. On a grounder off the bat of Bobby Stevens, Zimmerman gloved the ball and his throw one hopped to first baseman Justin Bloxom, who could not handle the throw in the dirt. Stevens was safe at first.

"I just rushed it a little bit," Zimmerman said. "I think I had a little bit more time than I thought. That is kind of the reason why I am getting these games in is to get used to the speed of the game again and getting back into my routine. Everything feels good, I just didn't make a good throw."

Three batters later, Zimmerman went after a slow roller in front of him and threw Kipp Schutz easily to end the inning.

"I think when I was banged up I got away from the mechanics that I used to use and we are just trying to get back to using my legs and my core just like everyone does," Zimmerman said. "I might of had to compensate for a few things when I was playing a little banged up but now that I am healthy, I am going back to concentrating on the basics and doing that."

At the plate he did not get a hit in this game, but says the plan is to see a lot of pitches and get at-bats.

"(I need to) see some fastballs, see some sliders, get a little bit of everything before I leave here," Zimmerman said.

The Potomac Nationals are in the middle of an extended homestand, including into Monday. One school of thought is Zimmerman lives only 20 minutes from Pfitzner Stadium, so he could play four or five more games in Woodbridge and be ready for when the Nationals return from their west coast trip Tuesday.

Zimmerman said these rehab games are important because he is getting back into shape after the surgery.

"It is kind of like the first week of spring training where you are a little sore after you play the first few games," Zimmerman said. "That is what I am going through now. Once I get past that I am good to go."

Zimmerman said Tuesday is a good target date but everything is day-to-day right now.

"It is getting to the point where I have been able to do actual exercises (involving his abs and core) now for about four or five days," Zimmerman said. "That has helped a lot. But (the abdomen area) is going to be sore for the remainder of the season. It takes a little while for that to completely get out of there, but it is nothing that is affecting me."

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