Ryan Zimmerman looks ready to contribute to the Nationals’ playoff push

Earlier in the day at the All-Star Game media scrum, Washington Nationals manager  Davey Martinez disclosed the plan is to activate both first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Stephen Strasburg before the second half slate of games begins after the break. Zimmerman, who made a rehab start and played seven innings for the Harrisburg Senators on Tuesday night at FNB Field, confirmed that plan and revealed the key to getting ready by Friday.

“Make it through tomorrow,” Zimmerman said. “With everything I’ve done yesterday and today: I’ve been on the bases quite a bit, playing first for a while yesterday and then seven again today. I’ll probably DH tomorrow to get as many at-bats as I can while giving me tomorrow and Thursday to get off my feet. By Friday, I should be to go.”

The first baseman’s timing at the plate looked good as he crushed the first pitch he saw from Akron starter Matt Whitehead for a 408-foot solo home run out to left field. He followed that up with a line drive to the shortstop, a four-pitch walk, and a fielder’s choice.

“I think when you’re gone for two months I think the biggest thing is just getting back into it,” he said. “I almost feel like you play better when you’re coming back and you know you’re not going to have a lot of at-bats because you are just trying to simplify everything. Literally, just get the barrel to the ball somehow.”

On his last two at-bats, Zimmerman was able to test out the hamstring and oblique injuries on the basepaths. The 33-year-old looked pain-free running down the line and tagging up on a fly ball.

“Everything feels good,” he said. “The legs are a little heavy, but that’s good for me. I got some at-bats and faced some pretty good pitching. Two wins, that’s important too.

“It just feels good to be back out there.”

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