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.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.