Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman began throwing and taking groundballs today for the first time since going on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, and the Nationals are hoping he'll be ready to return Sunday when he's eligible.
Brad Lidge, meanwhile, had surgery today in Philadelphia to repair a sports hernia, a procedure that should sideline the veteran reliever about one month.
Zimmerman, who last played April 20, has remained with the club for the last week and today started participating in pregame fielding drills for the first time. He won't be cleared to start hitting until later in the week, but that won't necessarily keep the Nationals from activating him off the 15-day DL when he becomes eligible on Sunday.
"I'd activate him right away," manager Davey Johnson said with a laugh. "That'll be up to Zim, see how he's feeling. In talking to the doctors, I don't think it's going to be something that can be re-injured swinging. I think it's more hitting the ground. I think that's how he aggravated it. I'll wait til later in the week, talk to Zim and the doctors and see how it's going."
Lidge was placed on the 15-day DL Saturday, then flew to Philadelphia Sunday to be examined by a specialist. He had surgery this morning to repair the sports hernia. He'll be cleared to start throwing in three weeks, and he might not need much time on a rehab assignment since he won't need to build his arm up that much as a late-inning reliever.
You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado.
"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.
It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars.
The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold.
Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season.
The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado.
The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx.
MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk
Ben Revere was brought to Washington in the hopes he could solve the centerfield and lead-off issue that plagued them the previous year. After just one year, the Nationals have decided to move on from Revere as they declined to tender him.
The move makes Revere a free agent after a .217/.260/.300 season that fell way below expectations. Revere tied his career-high with two home runs and added 24 RBI while scoring 44 runs.
Stay tuned for more information!