Josh Hamilton on track to begin rehab assignment Wednesday

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Remember how I mentioned over the weekend that the Rangers’ entire Opening Day outfield was on the disabled list? Well, it sounds like they’re making some progress on the health front.

Nelson Cruz played in his second minor league rehab game with Double-A Frisco earlier today while the Associated Press reports that Josh Hamilton could join him Wednesday.

Hamilton took early batting practice today in Chicago before returning to Texas to be reevaluated by team physician Dr. Keith Meister. If cleared for action, he will play two games with Double-A Frisco before joining Triple-A Round Rock for three games this weekend.

Hamilton has been sidelined since fracturing a bone in his upper right arm on a slide into home plate on April 12. He was batting .333/.409/.462 with an .871 OPS over his first 44 at-bats prior to the injury.

Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.

Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.

I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.

On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.