Nats' Zimmerman to have X-ray, Gonzalez working towards bullpen

Nats' Zimmerman to have X-ray, Gonzalez working towards bullpen
May 26, 2014, 1:00 pm
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Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will undergo an X-ray on his broken right thumb Monday, and could be cleared for baseball activities later in the day.

Manager Matt Williams said Zimmerman is progressing well and should be able to start taking batting practice and infield groundballs very soon. Zimmerman threw from 90 feet before the team's game with the Marlins with Bryce Harper, who is also dealing with a thumb injury. Harper had a trainer catching for him.

"The doc will take a look at [the X-ray]. The expectation is that it will be good," Williams said. "Hopefully he'll get cleared to resume baseball activity, get the splint off there and start taking some batting practice and stuff like that. All the other stuff has been good, he's been throwing a little bit."

Zimmerman has been on the disabled list since fracturing his right thumb while sliding into second base on April 12 in Atlanta. The original timeline said he would be out four to six weeks, but his rehab has now entered its seventh week.

Before sustaining the injury, Zimmerman appeared in 10 games for the Nationals this season. He left with a .364 average, two home runs and six RBI.

Gonzalez moving closer to bullpen session

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez threw in the Nationals' outfield before Monday's game as he works towards a bullpen session to test out his inflamed throwing shoulder.

Gonzalez played catch from 90 feet and has reported no unusual tightness or soreness.

"He let some balls go yesterday and felt good about it. [We stretched] him out a little bit further today. He's working towards that bullpen session. He feels good, though."

Gonzalez has been out since May 18 when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The southpaw has been doing exercises to strengthen his shoulder while ramping up his throwing program in recent days.

Williams said when Gonzalez will throw a bullpen session is still undetermined at this point.

"Whenever he's ready, whenever he feels like he can let the ball go," Williams said. "I don't know exactly when that bullpen session will happen, but he's working towards it."

Williams on Espinosa's struggles

Danny Espinosa was given a day off on Sunday in the Naitonals' win over the Pirates as the second baseman continues to search at the plate. After hitting .288 in the month of April, he has stumbled to a .127/.173/.268 slash in May.

Williams said Espinosa is putting in extra work in the batting cage, and working to adjust how close he stands to the plate. The skipper thinks he may be too anxious at the moment.

"From what I see from Danny, he's a little bit too aggressive at this point. He's swinging at some balls that are out of the zone. That's human nature, though, when it's not going good. He knows that he can hit the ball. He knows that he's got power. He knows that on any given pitch he can turn. But he's gotten a little bit too aggressive, so I'm trying to zone him back in and get him back over the plate a little bit.

"I don't why that is because he wasn't that way to start the season. When it starts to get away from you a little bit, then the old adage that you have to swing your way out of it, it's true. But you have to do it within the zone. You have to get a good pitch and hit it."

Espinosa is back in the Nationals' lineup on Monday and starting at second base.