Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Months

Ryan Zimmerman (thumb) is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday.

Zimmerman had a pair of hits in his final rehab game at High-A Potomac Monday, clearing the way for him to return to the Nationals' lineup. He played left field in two of his four games and is expected to be used there, in addition to third and some first base, once activated.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Months

Ryan Zimmerman (thumb) will play left field again Monday in his latest rehab game with High-A Potomac.

Zimmerman made his pro debut in left field on Saturday and played seven innings at the position on Sunday. The plan calls for him to play a full nine innings there Monday. If all goes well, there's a chance he could be activated Tuesday. It's unclear how often the Nationals will play him in left field when he returns, but they are looking for ways to take the stress off his right shoulder while keeping Anthony Rendon at third base.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Months

Ryan Zimmerman (thumb) will play five innings in left field for High-A Potomac on Saturday.

Zimmerman went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly as the DH for Potomac on Friday. With Bryce Harper on the disabled list for another month, the Nationals appear to be willing to move Zimmerman from his home at third base in order to keep Anthony Rendon at third base and Danny Espinosa at second base.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Months

Ryan Zimmerman (thumb) will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Potomac on Friday.

Zimmerman was just cleared for all baseball activities on Wednesday, so this is a quick turnaround. Although the Nationals haven't said when they think he'll be ready for activation, general manager Mike Rizzo did note recently that it doesn't take Zimmerman long to knock the rust off. He seems likely to rejoin the Nats' lineup by early next week if all goes well. The club reportedly plans to play him some at first base and in left field in addition to third base.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Months

Ryan Zimmerman (thumb) took part in a full batting practice session and fielded infield ground balls on Wednesday.

"Today," Nationals manager Matt Williams said, "was a big day for him." Zimmerman had been relegated fielding fly balls in the field, and he was only cleared to begin swinging and throwing on Monday. It's still unclear where he'll play upon returning -- he's been taking reps at first base and in left field while unable to field ground balls -- but all three positions, including his native third base, appear to be in play. The next step is a rehab assignment, which could come as early as the weekend.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Months

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals plan to rotate Ryan Zimmerman (thumb) between third base, first base and left field when he returns from the disabled list.

Zimmerman has been taking flyballs in left field for a while, but he told reporters last week that it was just a means for exercise and he wasn't learning to play the position. Evidently, though, that's not entirely true. Putting Zimmerman in left for some starts while Bryce Harper (thumb) is on the DL would allow the Nats to keep both Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa in the lineup. Adding some positional versatility would be a nice little boost for the fantasy prospects of Zimmerman, who should return to the lineup in a couple weeks.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Months1 Comment

Ryan Zimmerman (thumb) has been cleared to begin swinging and throwing.

Zimmerman's recovery from a fractured right thumb has gone slower than originally anticipated, but Nationals manager Matt Williams said Monday that "all signs are good." The Nationals are going to take it slow with him, but a return before mid-June sounds feasible if he can avoid setbacks.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Months

An X-ray Monday showed that Ryan Zimmerman's right thumb is still not fully healed.

His recovery is going slower than expected, as he's already five weeks into what was a projected 4-6 week timetable. Zimmerman will get a splint on the thumb that will allow him to begin exercising his right arm, though he has not been cleared to throw full-out or swing a bat yet. "It's not really throwing. It puts his thumb in a position where he can start working his arm, which is good," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "It's what he needs to do. [The thumb] is not fully healed, so [the doctors] are cautious."

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Months

Ryan Zimmerman told reporters on Monday that he is not learning to play left field.

Zimmerman has been spotted shagging fly balls in the outfield over the past week, but the third baseman explained Monday that it's merely part of his rehab program. He has been on the disabled list since April 13 with a fractured right thumb and hasn't been cleared yet to take groundballs. The hope is that he'll be able to return (to the hot corner) sometime in early June.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Months

The Nationals are considering the possibility of using Ryan Zimmerman (thumb) in left field when he returns from the disabled list.

Zimmerman performed drills in the outfield Saturday for a second straight day. Although the Nats refuse to publicly admit they're considering using him there, a team official indicated to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that it's a possibility. "We haven't said anything to him," the official said. "But we're watching him. Put him out there, let him go." The idea behind the experiment would be to use Zimmerman in left until Bryce Harper (thumb) returns, allowing the club to keep Danny Espinosa at second base and Anthony Rendon at third. Zimmerman is still a few weeks away from coming off the disabled list.