Ryan Zimmerman on track to return from disabled list next Friday

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Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the disabled list last weekend due to a sore left hamstring, but he’s already nearing his return to game action.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson told Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com this morning that Zimmerman will likely begin a minor league rehab assignment on Monday. While the Nationals haven’t announced which affiliate he’ll play with, High-A Potomac is the most logical destination. Barring any setbacks, the hope is that he’ll be activated when he’s first eligible next Friday against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Zimmerman played catch, fielded ground balls and ran the bases this morning at Nationals Park during a workout with trainer Steve Gober and bench coach Randy Knorr. His throwing was an issue prior to the hamstring injury and it’s apparently still a work in progress, as Kilgore notes that “some of Zimmerman’s throws hit Gober in the chest; some skipped by him or flew to the short fence behind him.”

The Nationals called up top prospect Anthony Rendon when Zimmerman was placed on the disabled list, but he’ll likely head back down the minors next Friday.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.