With foot still sore, Zimmerman backs off running (Nats down 3-1)

NEW YORK - There’s only one regular member of the Nationals lineup still on the injured list, but it looks like he might be there a while longer.

Ryan Zimmerman, who had been progressing in his rehab from plantar fasciitis, has backed off after feeling pain in his right foot while attempting to run in recent days.

Davey Martinez stopped short of referring to it as a setback.

Zimmerman-throws-bat-blue-sidebar.jpg“No, just the normal soreness,” the manager said. “We told him to back off. He’s been getting extensive treatment on it again. He can do everything. The last hurdle is the running part.”

Zimmerman has been on the IL since April 28 with a condition he has insisted is not as severe as the plantar fasciitis he had in his left foot four years ago. That injury sidelined him for seven weeks. He has missed 3 1/2 weeks so far with this injury.

Zimmerman hasn’t been shut down altogether. He was planning to hit in the cage this morning and see how his foot responds. The Nationals will re-evaluate him and decide what steps to take Friday.

Even without Zimmerman, the Nats lineup looks far more complete now than it did only a few weeks ago, when it was without Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. Matt Adams’ return Wednesday from a strained left shoulder helps soften the blow of Zimmerman’s absence, and he and Howie Kendrick will split time at first base for now.

The Nationals rotation, meanwhile, could get a boost within the week. Aníbal Sánchez, on the IL with a strained hamstring, is scheduled to pitch a simulated game Friday afternoon at Nationals Park.

If all goes well, Sánchez could be activated and start for the Nats next week. Right-hander Kyle McGowin starts Friday against the Marlins, so Sánchez could fill that rotation slot with Erick Fedde already filling the slot Sánchez held before getting hurt last week.

In other news, third base coach Bobby Henley is away from the team today to attend his daughter’s high school graduation in Alabama. Anna Henley is salutatorian of her class.

Chip Hale will serve as third base coach for today’s game, with Joe Dillon assuming bench coach duties.

Update: The good news: The Nationals have put a runner in scoring position in each of the first five innings of this game. The bad news: None of them have scored. Yes, they’ve gone 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. And within that, they’ve struck out four times looking, grounded into two double plays and grounded out twice to the left side of the infield with a runner on second, failing to advance him. Stephen Strasburg has been excellent so far, but the Mets finally scored an unearned run off him in the bottom of the fifth. Carlos Gomez, after singling, stole second and took third when Yan Gomes’ throw sailed into center field. Unlike the Nats, the Mets were able to get their runner home when Juan Lagares lofted a sacrifice fly to right. So it’s 1-0 New York after five very frustrating innings of baseball.

Update II: They got a hit with a runner in scoring position! It was on a bunt, and the only reason the runner scored was because the Mets kicked the ball all around the infield. And it still ended with Brian Dozier getting thrown out at third base. But the Nationals are on the board. It’s 1-1 in the sixth, and they’re now 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Update III: The Mets have re-taken the lead, as a direct result of poor Nationals defense. With one out and runners on first and second, Strasburg bounced a curveball. The ball squirted through Gomes’ legs, allowing both runners to advance. It’s officially a wild pitch, but a catcher simply needs to keep that pitch from getting past him. And it allowed the Mets to score the go-ahead run on a sac fly, then add an insurance run when Wilson Ramos legged out a grounder to the hole at short. Trea Turner could’ve tried to plant his feet and make a strong throw to get the sloth-slow Ramos, but he instead tried to make an off-balance throw and didn’t get it there in time. Mets lead 3-1 after six.

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