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Zimmerman sharp in first rehab start in Class A

Zimmerman sharp in first rehab start in Class A

Zimmerman sharp in first rehab start in Class A
HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-2 with a walk, two runs and an RBI Sunday in his first rehab start with Class A Hagerstown.

Zimmerman, who has not played since suffering a left abdominal tear April 9 against the Mets, recorded a double and triple as Hagerstown defeated Greensboro, 6-5. He was replaced from the game in the sixth inning.

"Any time somebody is coming off an injury and hasn't played as long as he has, you always worry that he is going to be a little bit rusty," Washington principle owner Mark Lerner said. "But he sure doesn't look rusty. I'm just glad to see him back in a uniform -- I don't care what uniform it is. I think he'll be in D.C. pretty quickly now and we could sure use his bat."

Although Zimmerman's hitting ability was on display, the third baseman said he is most concerned about regaining his throwing ability. However, in one of his only defensive plays, Zimmerman handled a grounder and threw to first for an out without difficulty.

"Everything felt great," Zimmerman said. "I think obviously throwing was the thing that hurt the most and that's the last thing that's coming back. So we still have a little bit of work there, but other than that, hitting feels great, running feels great and I think we're right on schedule to where we want to be. It doesn't mean I'm going to be back tomorrow or in two days, but it was a good first step and we'll go from there."

Washington was hoping to have its 2009 Gold Glove Award winner back in mid-June, but Zimmerman said there is no definite timetable. There is still scar tissue from his May 3 surgery, which the 26-year-old said will only be broken up if he continues to play.

Prior to going on the DL, Zimmerman was 10-for-28 [.357] with a homer and seven RBIs for the Nats. He said watching their offense struggle has been, "tough to watch." But Zimmerman's stint in the Minors is doing more than just serving as an intermediary period before he returns to the Washington lineup.

"I think the biggest thing is to not come back too early," he said. "An extra week is better than not getting hurt again. So that's the one thing I've had to learn, is patience on this. As frustrating as it's been, it's helped me grow up a little bit."

Avi Zaleon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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