Johnson wants to discuss Zimmermann plan

Johnson wants to discuss Zimmermann plan

Johnson wants to discuss Zimmermann plan
WASHINGTON -- Manager Davey Johnson had a laundry list of repairs to make to his boat before receiving a call to take over as Nationals skipper two weeks ago.

He plans to finally get around to them over the All-Star break, but first he has to sit down and discuss a second-half plan for Jordan Zimmermann. The Nationals placed a 160-inning limit on the right-hander, and pitching coach Steve McCatty drew up a plan to get Zimmermann to that mark once the roster expands in September.

"I've heard the plan, and I'm not that comfortable with it," Johnson said. "We'll have a healthy break to discuss that. I'm not quite set on how that will go down."

Zimmermann is already at 108 2/3 innings in his first full season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and he has another start Sunday against the Rockies. He only has five wins to show for it, but his 2.82 ERA is the best on the team.

With the club having a .500 record at the latest point in the season since finishing 2005 at 81-81, Johnson does not want to toy around with his best starter's schedule and lose him in the middle of a potential playoff race.

"He's obviously pitched a lot better than a fifth starter, so if we're trying to win ... you can figure it out," Johnson said. "I don't know if this is a medical decision and he needs extra rest. There's all kinds of things to talk about, and [the decision] is probably being made above me by smart doctors, but I'm looking at it from a baseball standpoint."

Johnson already said Zimmermann will be Washington's fifth starter in the second half, but would prefer he pitch on a regular schedule. If there is an off-day and Zimmermann is bumped, he understands, but he does not want to recall pitchers for spot starts.

Johnson is OK with Zimmermann potentially hitting his inning limit before September callups if it means a regular schedule. And he understands he should be prepared to have the same conversations next season when Stephen Strasburg returns to the rotation.

"You really want to be careful about guys coming back from an injury," Johnson said. "Maybe instead of Strasburg and Zim being Nos. 1 and 2, they're 4 and 5. I'd hate to think that, but I don't know."