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.

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.