Zimmerman, 29, will not be returning to the team at third base, however. He is expected to play left field, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported last week, at least temporarily until Bryce Harper returns from a thumb injury of his own. Zimmerman played three minor league rehab games in left as a tune-up.
Here's what Zimmerman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:
“Whenever you do something new, it's a little nerve-wracking,” Zimmerman said. “But I feel like I can go out there and do what I need to do.”
“I feel like I can be adequate and do a good job,” Zimmerman said. “I feel like I can do things to help us win. I think that's the most important part.”
Zimmerman has had some major throwing issues for more than a year now, mostly due to his arthritic shoulder. The throw from left field will be easier on him -- “I can get my momentum going. I can use my legs a lot more," he said to Kilgore. "A lot of the times, unless the ball comes right to me, it's going to be just getting the ball to the cutoff man, letting him do the job" -- and allows the team to keep Anthony Rendon at his natural third base position.
In 10 games before getting hurt, Zimmerman hit .364/.405/.636 (185 OPS+) with two home runs. Rendon has hit .263/.318/.433 (107 OPS+) with six homers and has been manning the hot corner during Zimmerman's absence.
The Nationals figure to move Zimmerman to first base full-time next season, after Adam LaRoche's contract expires.