Ryan Zimmerman cleared to swing a bat, still not close to rejoining the Nationals

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While on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been taking fly balls in left field for a while now because he wasn’t cleared to throw or hit yet, but yesterday he finally got the go-ahead to swing a bat.

Zimmerman, who’s seven weeks into what was supposed to be a 4-6 week recovery, will soon begin taking swings in a batting cage and off a tee. In other words, he’s still not close to actually rejoining the Nationals’ lineup.

In fact, Nationals manager Matt Williams told Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com that there’s still no official timetable yet for Zimmerman’s return and “we’re going to take it a little slow with the bat because vibration can certainly cause pain, let alone any further damage.”

Toss in Zimmerman’s chronic shoulder problems complicating any potential throwing programs and his overall health remains a big question mark.

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Blue Jays place Aaron Sanchez on 10-day disabled list

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The Blue Jays placed right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list with a contusion in his right index finger, per a team announcement on Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to Friday. In a corresponding move, righty Marcus Stroman was activated from the DL (right shoulder fatigue) and will take the mound for the Blue Jays at 9:07 PM ET tonight.

Sanchez, 25, is in his fifth season with the club. He hasn’t looked his sharpest so far this year, going 3-5 in 15 starts with a career-worst 4.52 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 79 2/3 innings. It’s not yet clear how long he’ll be sidelined, though he could miss as little as one turn in the rotation before returning to the roster in the next week or two.

Sanchez isn’t the only struggling starter in Toronto’s rotation, either. Per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, the team placed southpaw Jaime Garcia on the DL (right shoulder tenderness) as well, with lefty reliever Tim Mayza scheduled to take his spot on the roster. In 13 starts this season, Garcia carried a 2-6 record, 6.16 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 61 1/3 innings. Any further decisions pertaining to the rotation — including Tuesday’s starter against the Astros — have yet to be publicly addressed.