Ryan Zimmerman took 30 full swings off soft-toss pitching this morning and emerged with his injured right shoulder feeling 100 percent, leaving the Nationals third baseman on track to come off the disabled list Tuesday.
There's still a minuscule chance Zimmerman could return to the lineup for tomorrow night's series finale against the Phillies if he feels great after a full pregame workout tomorrow. But the 27-year-old understands the safer course is probably to wait until Tuesday's road trip opener in Pittsburgh.
"Unless I come out tomorrow and feel just unbelievable and feel absolutely nothing, there'd be a chance," he said. "But it's kind of silly to rush and do it tomorrow. ... It would be a shame if we didn't wait one more day and messed it up. We have an extra day on Monday. That works in nice and gives me an extra day to get more swings. I would say Tuesday."
Having missed the last two weeks with inflammation of the AC joint in his right shoulder, Zimmerman resumed swinging yesterday, first hitting off a tee. He did that again today, then progressed to soft-toss. The only remaining step is to take a full round of batting practice off a live pitcher.
"Nothing hurt yesterday, but it felt way better today than it did yesterday," he said. "Whenever you come back from something, you're a little cautious at first. I was pretty much 100 percent today swinging at flips, and it felt fine."
Zimmerman, who believes he suffered this injury after multiple diving attempts in the field, said he won't take any extra precautions once he returns to ensure it doesn't happen again.
"Not unless you want me to stop diving for balls," he said. "These things are just things that happen. If you play enough games and are fortunate enough to be up here, you're going to get hurt. Unfortunately, I had to miss some time. Sometimes you can play through them, sometimes you can't. I think if it was August [or] September, it would be a different story. But it's better this way. It was frustrating, but it was the right thing to do."