Nationals fans better enjoy Jordan Zimmermann while they still can.
No worries, he’s perfectly healthy, but after the Nationals made a tentative schedule to work around Zimmermann’s 160-innings limit for this season, manager Davey Johnson told Amanda Comak of the Washington Times earlier today that plans have changed.
While Zimmermann won’t make his next start until Tuesday, he’s now expected to start on regular rest until he reaches his innings-limit.
“He’s throwing so good,” Johnson said. “He’s not a fifth starter and treating him like a fifth starter where we’ve got off days or missing a start, I wasn’t sure that was the best way for him to finish out this year. I think him getting regular work, regular side throwing, regular games until he runs out of innings and then just let him rest (is best).”
Zimmermann has emerged as a legitimate front line starter this season, posting a 2.66 ERA and 82/21 K/BB ratio over 18 starts. However, he’s at 115 innings in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, so the Nationals aren’t going to take any chances. The 25-year-old right-hander has averaged right around 6 1/3 innings per start this season, so that would leave him roughly six or seven more starts before reaching 160 innings. If it’s six starts, Comak projects he could be shut down following an August 18 start against the Reds.
Of course, his eventual absence will hurt a little less if Chien-Ming Wang and Stephen Strasburg continue to make progress with their respective rehabs.