Jim Riggleman drove to Hagerstown yesterday to watch Jordan Zimmermann's latest rehab start and came away encouraged by what he saw, despite the right-hander's unsightly final line.
Zimmermann, who hadn't allowed an earned run in his previous four starts for high-Class A Potomac, gave up six earned runs in five innings last night for low-Class A Hagerstown.
Riggleman, though, paid more attention to the fact Zimmermann's arm felt strong afterward.
"My concern is just that he feels good, that his arm feels good," the manager said. "His delivery looked good. He didn't get the results yesterday that he would have liked. But I know he's encouraged by how his arm feels. That's quite a few innings he's got now, between the Florida experience and his rehab starts, where he's held up real good. He's moving forward."
Zimmermann is next slated to pitch for Class AA Harrisburg this weekend. He's been targeting mid-August (12 months after he had Tommy John surgery) for his return to the Nationals' rotation, though Riggleman won't commit to that quite yet.
"Barring any setback physically I'm sure he'll be with us," Riggleman said. "I don't know that it'll be in a couple weeks. It may be, but it may be later than that. But he's healthy. And when he's healthy, he's one of our best guys."