Jordan Zimmermann will be limited to just four more starts as Nationals monitor workload

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Jordan Zimmermann has fared extremely well in his full-season return from Tommy John elbow surgery, posting a 3.12 ERA and 98/22 K/BB ratio in 21 starts, but Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals will soon remove him from the rotation in an effort to limit the 25-year-old right-hander’s workload.

According to Kilgore the Nationals don’t want Zimmermann throwing more than 160 innings this season and he’s already logged 133, so they’re expected to give him just four more starts before shutting him down.

Unless they skip his turn in the rotation several times before then that would likely mean Zimmermann not starting at all in September, with Stephen Strasburg potentially stepping into the rotation spot during the final month if his own recovery from Tommy John surgery continues to go well.

Davey Johnson indicated that he’d like to talk general manager Mike Rizzo into expanding the limit because of how well Zimmermann has pitched, but avoiding that temptation is the smart move. Ultimately a big part of the Nationals’ future involves Strasburg and Zimmermann atop their long-term rotation and a few extra September starts don’t mean much in terms of reaching that goal.

Howie Kendrick to undergo an MRI after exiting game with a serious leg injury

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Update, 7:49 PM ET: The Nationals placed Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list with a right Achilles injury. In a corresponding move, right-hander Jefry Rodriguez was recalled from Double-A Potomac.

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Nationals left fielder Howie Kendrick was removed from the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers after injuring his right leg. In the eighth inning, Kendrick tracked a Max Muncy sac fly to the wall, but landed strangely on his right leg and fell to the ground. Unable to put weight on it, he was forced to exit the field on a cart and was sent to undergo an MRI soon afterward, the results of which have yet to be revealed.

While the Nationals have not specified the nature or severity of Kendrick’s injury, Martinez revealed that it’s located in the “lower part” of the outfielder’s leg and appears to be quite severe. He’ll likely be placed on the 10-day disabled list in the next couple of days, though the recovery process could take even longer.

Prior to the incident, Kendrick was off to a hot start this season. Entering Saturday’s doubleheader, he carried a batting line of .302/.331/.477 with 18 extra-base hits and an .808 OPS in 157 plate appearances. He went 1-for-3 on Saturday with a base hit in the seventh inning. Andrew Stevenson subbed in for Kendrick following the injury and has been tabbed to start in left field for the second game of the doubleheader at 8:05 PM ET.