Zimmerman battling shoulder soreness, will play tomorrow

PHILADELPHIA - Ryan Zimmerman was scratched from tonight’s game against the Phillies because of soreness in his right shoulder - the same shoulder which sent him to the disabled list late in April when it became inflamed.

But both Zimmerman and his manager say the soreness is nothing to worry about.

During batting practice before tonight’s contest, Zimmerman had a conversation with manager Davey Johnson about the shoulder, a conversation which turned a little heated when Johnson told his third baseman he wanted to give him the day off.

“He wanted to play,” Johnson said. “I said, ‘Let’s just let the thing calm down. We’re in a war here. We can lose this battle, but I need you for three games in Atlanta.’ They’re the ones on top and we need to put our best foot forward down there.”

Zimmerman said this soreness is in a different part of his shoulder than the previous issue which landed him on the DL, but stressed that it’s nothing serious. This was his first day off since coming back off the disabled list on May 8, and Johnson actually said it was his fault for not checking with Zimmerman periodically and giving him a planned day off sometime in the last couple weeks.

“I think (the soreness is) just from playing every day again, coming back,” Zimmerman said. “It’s just general soreness. I took BP. I did everything I usually do today to play a game and then Davey just wouldn’t let me play. He’s the boss, I guess.”

Zimmerman said he felt bad for Chad Tracy, who learned about an hour and a half prior to gametime that he’d be in the starting lineup. It also didn’t help that Tracy, on his 32nd birthday, had to face Phillies starter Roy Halladay.

But Johnson said that Zimmerman will be back in the lineup tomorrow in the series finale against the Phillies, and then will benefit from the Nationals’ off-day on Thursday.

“Obviously it was very precautionary,” Zimmerman said. “You want to play every game. That’s the way it is. If we would have just talked about it yesterday and done something like that and had the day off from the beginning it wouldn’t even really be a big deal. I went through everything that I usually go through before I play a game and everything went fine.”

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