Ryan Zimmerman to begin minor league rehab assignment Sunday

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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.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”