Zimmerman not likely to return until Tuesday

It appears the Nationals are likely to be without Ryan Zimmerman for the entire series against the Phillies this weekend.

Manager Davey Johnson said today that Zimmerman will hit off a tee on Friday, hit first time swinging a bat since going on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. There's a chance Zimmerman could return on Sunday for the series finale against Philadelphia, but a more likely scenario has Zimmerman back in the Nats' lineup for the first time after Monday's off-day.

"I think Zim's going to be back probably Tuesday," Johnson said. "He's throwing and doing all that. He feels great. But he's still got to wait to make sure we get by this injury. So I think Tuesday's his coming out party, hopefully."

Johnson said he doesn't think Zimmerman would need to go on a rehab start before returning to the Nats, saying, "I'll take him cold turkey."

Zimmerman doesn't feel the discomfort in his shoulder when he throws, only when he hits. He had hoped to play on Sunday, and there's still a chance he will, but the Nats will play things safe with their three-hole hitter.

"It's going to be up to him," Johnson said. "We're not going to really know until how he feels Friday just swinging. ... I could use his bat, but I don't want it for three or four days and then have (him have) a problem with it. If that (means) missing a couple more games, so be it. I'll wait on him."

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