While Jayson Werth is out of tonight’s lineup after being hit by a pitch on the elbow last night, the Nationals are very close to getting the face of their franchise back.
Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Zimmerman will begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday with low-Class A Hagerstown. Zimmerman, who underwent abdominal surgery exactly one month ago, went 0-for-4 and played four innings in the field today in his second game in extended spring training.
While Zimmerman will likely be in the same lineup as top prospect Bryce Harper on Sunday, he could move to High-A Potomac by Monday or Triple-A Syracuse by Tuesday. Barring any setbacks, he could rejoin the offense-starved Nationals sometime during their current 11-game road trip, which concludes June 12 in San Diego.
Zimmerman was batting .357 (10-for-28) with one home run and four RBI before going on the disabled list with a left abdominal strain on April 10.
The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.
The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.
Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.
After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.