Jordan Zimmermann nearly ready for return to majors

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Yesterday afternoon, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo hinted that Jordan Zimmermann was potentially one start away from returning to the major leagues. Well, the rehabbing right-hander made quite a statement by tossing five shutout innings in his latest minor league rehab start last night.

Zimmermann gave up just one hit while striking out five and walking one. After a first-inning walk, he retired 13 consecutive batters to end his night. Including last night’s start, Zimmermann has a miniscule 1.59 ERA over 10 minor league rehab starts, posting a 31/6 K/BB ratio over 39 2/3 innings. He has a 0.59 ERA over four starts with Triple-A Syracuse. If we don’t see him in D.C. next week, he’ll almost certainly be back when the rosters expand on September 1.

The 24-year-old right-hander went 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA in 16 starts before undergoing Tommy John surgery last August. While those numbers don’t blow you away, consider that he also managed a 92/29 K/BB ratio over 91 1/3 innings. He has all the makings of a great sidekick to Stephen Strasburg. The Nats will probably limit his workload in September, but we’ll at least get a nice little sneak preview in the weeks ahead.