Strasburg has Zimmermann's support

Strasburg has Zimmermann's support

WASHINGTON -- A day after learning that he needed Tommy John surgery, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg sought out teammate Jordan Zimmermann, who went through the same procedure in August of last year.

Zimmermann played his first Major League game of 2010 on Thursday. It took only 12 months to recover because he didn't have any setbacks. Zimmermann told Strasburg to work hard, not have doubts in himself and keep his head up.

"He said, 'Early on you are going to be questioning yourself,'" Strasburg said, recalling his conversation with Zimmermann. "It's going to be really, really good some days. The next day, it will be tight. So he said, 'You just have to remind yourself that it is 100-percent healthy, just to push through and just stick with the program, not try to do too much. At the same time, get what you need done.'"

Strasburg and Zimmermann are expected to be a dynamic one-two combo in the Nationals' rotation, but that will probably not happen until 2012.

"It will happen someday," Zimmermann said. "Unfortunately, you have to wait a while. I really don't look at the duo part. I just want to pitch with the guy and be on the same team as him. Hopefully, he will be back in the next year."