Jordan Zimmermann is heading back to the All-Star Game.
And this time, the Nationals right-hander will actually have a chance to compete in the Midsummer Classic.
Zimmermann has been selected to his second straight All-Star Game, this after going 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA in 18 starts, including today's six scoreless frames against the Cubs.
"It means a lot," Zimmermann said. "It's a huge honor and I'm excited. I wouldn't be going if it wasn't for those guys that play defense behind me every day, the catchers calling the pitches. I throw the ball, I try to throw strikes and let the guys put it in play. I don't have high strikeout numbers. Let the batter put it in play and those guys make the plays behind me. As much as it's me going, it's actually all these guys, too.
Last year, Zimmermann made the National League team only to have to watch from the bench for the entire game due to a stiff neck.
He's healthy this year, and will make his final start before the All-Star break on Friday against the Phillies. That will set him up to be on three days' rest going into the All-Star Game, which will be held Tuesday, July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
"Obviously, you want to pitch in it," he said. "Last year being the first time, I wanted to, but I was a little banged up. This year, it's gonna be good. It's only three hours from home, so I'm sure I'll have a decent amount of people coming over. Hopefully, not too many, so I don't have to buy too many tickets. But it's gonna be fun."
"It's quite an honor for him," manager Matt Williams said. "I think he's earned it. He's been fantastic for us. We're happy for him, that he has a chance to go represent us and be a part of it. It's a special thing. He'll have a lot of fun. ... It's special. Any time a player gets to be a part of that, it's a special time. So we're looking forward to seeing him compete. We're proud of him. He deserves it."
Zimmermann got off to a bit of an inconsistent start to the season, and had a 4.07 ERA at the end of May. Since then, the 28-year-old has caught fire.
He's allowed just seven runs over his last 50 innings, giving him a 1.26 ERA in those seven starts. The right-hander has picked up just three wins in those seven games, however.
"Five weeks ago, I was thinking I'd be home having a little vacation," Zimmermann said. "I just started throwing strikes and locating a lot better. The slider finally came back. I didn't have it for a month and a half. I was able to get that back, and that's a big pitch for me."
On the season, over 109 2/3 innings, Zimmermann has struck out 96 and walked just 20. Since the start of the 2011 season, Zimmermann has a 3.07 ERA.
"Very deserving," Ryan Zimmerman said of Zimmermann's selection. "He's been so consistent for the last four or five years. He deserves every bit of credit he's gotten."