When will Ryan Zimmerman return to Nationals? “Sometime in September”

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Ryan Zimmerman has been on the disabled list for a month with a hamstring injury and when asked yesterday when the third baseman is expected to return Nationals manager Matt Williams replied “sometime in September.”

Williams also told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com:

When? I don’t know, but sometime in September. I don’t think anything would happen until after [September 1] because he still hasn’t gone the full gamut of tests. And then he would have to have some time to play. The last thing we want is for him to go to early and really do something bad to it. So we have to be sure when he comes back that he’s ready, that there are no limitations, and he can go score from first and play defense and do all the things that he does really well.

There’s only a week or so remaining in the minor-league season, so if Zimmerman wants to go on a rehab assignment before coming off the disabled list he’s running out of time. Williams suggested that simulated games could be an option, so clearly the Nationals aren’t going to rush him back.

Zimmerman has been limited to just 52 games this season due to an assortment of injuries, including his chronic shoulder problems, but when healthy enough to be in the lineup–at third base or in left field–he has hit his usual .282 with an .802 OPS.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.