Ryan Zimmerman throws on field for first time since shoulder surgery

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Ryan Zimmerman has yet to make his spring debut, but he continues to make encouraging progress from offseason surgery on his right shoulder.

According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Zimmerman threw to second base for the first time today for the first time this spring. He’s hoping to make throws across the infield by the end of the weekend.

While his shoulder issues regularly resulted in awkward throws from third base last year, Zimmerman said that things are now “back to normal.” One Nationals’ person agreed with the assessment, telling Kilgore that Zimmerman is “not fighting his arm slot.”

The current plan is for Zimmerman to be eased into Grapefruit League action as the designated hitter. If all goes well over the next few days, he could be in the lineup at third base late next week.

Zimmerman, 28, batted .282/.346/.478 with 25 home runs, 95 RBI and an .824 OPS last season.

UPDATE: Dan Kolko of MASN reports that Zimmerman will make his spring debut as the DH on Sunday.

Steven Souza Jr. exits game after injuring his hand on a hit by pitch

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Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.

While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.

Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.

Video: Brett Gardner goes deep for his first and second home runs of 2017

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It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:

Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:

Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.