Jordan Zimmermann is on the comeback trail

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Jordan Zimmermann, who underwent Tommy John surgery last August, threw 35 pitches in a two-inning simulated game at Nationals Park on Friday, according to Byron Kerr of MASNSports.com.

“I have been throwing 100 percent for a while now. I haven’t had a
setback, knock on wood. Everything is going perfectly.”

Willie Harris was one of the batters who faced Zimmermann and he provided some rave reviews to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

He looked good,” Harris said. “He was Jordan Zimmermann, man. He was
nasty. Live arm. Breaking pitches were good. He’s way of ahead of
schedule. It shows how hungry he is.”

So the big question, of course, is when will he join Stephen Strasburg in the starting rotation? Well, it could be sooner than you think.

Zimmermann said he hopes to join High-A Potomac in early July, while Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Kilgore that the 24-year-old right-hander is on track to return to the majors sometime between Aug. 1 and Aug. 15.

The Nationals might not stick around much longer in the National League East, but with these two arms, Nationals Park will be a pretty exciting place well through September.
 

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.