Jordan Zimmermann set for first rehab start Saturday

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Every Nationals fan will have their eyes glued to Stephen Strasburg’s start against the Mets on Saturday afternoon, but they’ll also be interested to hear how Jordan Zimmermann fares in his first major league rehab start with Single-A Potomac.

Zimmermann is currently working his way back from Tommy John surgery last August. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the 24-year-old right-hander is slated to either two innings or 35 pitches.

“He’s been ahead of schedule, really, the whole time,” Rizzo said. “I’ve
had to pull him back a little bit and pull the reins in a little bit,
which makes him unhappy at times because he wants to go at 100 miles per
hour all the time. But that’s a good thing. We’re satisfied with where
he’s at, and we’re hoping there’s no hiccups or setbacks. If there’s
not, we’ll expect to see him back here sometime in 2010.”

It could be sooner than you think. Kilgore writes that he could be back by the end of July.

Zimmermann was 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 16 starts with the Nationals last season, posting an impressive 92/29 K/BB ratio over 91 1/3 innings as a rookie. Speaking nothing of my personal fandom, I’d like nothing more than to see him bounce back and be a fine No. 2 to Strasburg for years to come.

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.