Garcia getting second opinion on forearm, Zimmerman has strong BP session

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals believe that the lingering tightness in the area between Christian Garcia's right wrist and forearm is due to a strain, but they are awaiting a second opinion on the right-hander's MRI results, which they hope will clear up what manager Davey Johnson has called "a strange injury."

Garcia has been feeling tightness in his right arm for the last few days, but he doesn't notice any discomfort when throwing curveballs or changeups. The tightness is only present when the 27-year-old throws fastballs, or, as Johnson noted, when Garcia opens his car door.

The Nationals believe that there's something wrong with the ligaments or tendons in the wrist/forearm area, which is causing the discomfort.

Garcia won't be allowed to throw for the time being, with the Nationals preferring to get the second opinion on his MRI before determining how to go forward. The good news is that Garcia - who has had three elbow surgeries, including two Tommy John procedures - does not believe that the injury is serious or at all related to his past elbow troubles.

"He's just on a day-to-day (basis)," Johnson said. "See how he feels, get treatment and wait on the other opinion."

Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman, who is coming off offseason shoulder surgery, took part in a full batting practice session today on the main field at Space Coast Stadium.

Zimmerman had been hitting in the cages for the last couple days, but this was his first time taking cuts on the field during the Nationals' full workout. He didn't look like he'd missed a beat from last season, smoking hard line drives all over the field for the duration of his BP session.

"It feels good. No surprises," Zimmerman said afterward. "Just got to continue getting the throwing going, and as soon as that's ready, obviously the hitting will be ready before that."

Zimmerman threw from 90 feet yesterday and warmed up from short distances today. He took part in infield drills but still is not making throws across the diamond quite yet.

The Nationals third baseman will take part in two throwing sessions tomorrow, both again from 90 feet.

"It's a painfully slow progression, but that's what we need to do," Zimmerman said. "We have plenty of time to let it progress. I'll just kind of work my way into it, but everything's felt great. Throwing to 90 (feet) with no problems, and actually throwing it a bit. So it's coming along good."

Spring training is pretty drawn out to begin with, but it's even longer this year because of the World Baseball Classic, giving Zimmerman plenty of time to get ready for the season after a surgical procedure which cleaned out the A/C joint in his right shoulder.

"Of course, you don't want to have to do this stuff," Zimmerman said. "You want to be out there with your teammates and not being able to participate in infield, outfield, things like that ... that's fun for us. Doing that kind of stuff is enjoyable. It's not work. So to not be able to do that, you feel you kind of stick out and you don't want to be that guy.

"But that's what we have to do, and when you think about it, this stuff isn't important. April 1, that's important, and that's what we're working for."

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