Ryan Zimmerman not expected to return before Tuesday

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Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (sore right shoulder) told reporters on Tuesday that he is aiming to return from the 15-day disabled list in time for Sunday night’s game against the division rival Phillies. But it’s just not going to happen.

According to beat writer Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington’s Nats Insider, manager Davey Johnson said this afternoon that Zimmerman “likely won’t come off” the DL until at least next Tuesday, when Washington opens a series in Pittsburgh.

The 27-year-old hasn’t experienced a setback and is telling people that he feels “great,” but he’s dealt with shoulder issues in the past and the Nationals don’t want to make the mistake of rushing him back too early.

Zimmerman will hit off a tee for the first time Friday. He has already begun playing regular games of catch.

Twins place Ervin Santana on 10-day disabled list

Ervin Santana
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Twins right-hander Ervin Santana is headed back to the disabled list after experiencing a flare-up of symptoms related to the MVP joint injury he sustained on his right middle finger back in February. According to club manager Paul Molitor, no timetable has been revealed for his return to the rotation, but given the significant time he’s already missed this season, it seems unlikely that he’ll play a significant role — if any — down the stretch. He’s currently scheduled to see a hand specialist on Tuesday, after which the Twins will reevaluate his status and decide whether or not to shut him down for the remainder of the 2018 season.

Santana, 35, underwent surgery on his finger in February and missed over five months during a lengthy recovery process. The veteran righty was activated from the 60-day disabled list in July, but has pitched to an 0-1 record in five starts since then, with an abysmal 8.03 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 through 24 2/3 innings. His most recent start, Thursday’s surprising 15-8 win over the Tigers, was also his worst of the season: He allowed seven runs and three walks over four innings and struck out just two of 22 batters faced before calling it a night in the fifth inning.

Given Santana’s continued struggles on the mound and the uphill battle he faces in recovery, it’s difficult to imagine that the team will exercise his $14 million option for 2019 come fall. Until then,  the Twins’ no. 5 prospect, 24-year-old southpaw Stephen Gonsalves, is expected to assume Santana’s spot in the rotation. Gonsalves turned in a 12-3 record in 22 starts for Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Rochester, with a cumulative 2.76 ERA, 4.8 BB/9 and 9.0 SO/9 through 120 2/3 innings.