Jordan Zimmermann was cruising in a rehab start with the Potomac Nationals until he got hit in the leg by a line drive in the bottom of the fourth inning. Zimmermann was removed from the game after 3.1 innings, two outs short of the four innings scheduled for his assignment.
Zimmermann said he was fine and was still hoping that his next start will be back with the Washington Nationals against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
"The whole plan was if I felt great that I'd be coming back on Sunday, but I don't know now that I got hit in the leg," Zimmermann said.
Washington's rookie pitcher was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 19 due to a sore right elbow, and was set for his first rehab assignment Tuesday. Before the injury he was 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA in 16 starts with a 92-29 K-BB ratio.
The plan was for Zimmermann to go four innings, and he looked very strong most of the way. He threw mostly fastballs, which averaged 94-95 MPH. He also worked on his slider, curveball and changeup, mainly in the later innings. His first inning was a gem, striking out the side. He got two with fastballs and one on the slider. Ultimately a poorly placed changeup to the Frederick Keys' Robbie Widlansky in the fourth inning resulted in a solo home run to right field.
"I had pretty good control of the fastball and my slider was good all night, and I threw a couple curveballs. I thought everything was working well except I threw one changeup that [Widlansky] hit pretty well," said Zimmermann after the game.
Two batters later, a fastball to Caleb Joseph hit Zimmermann near his hamstring. As a precaution, the Nationals pulled Zimmermann out of the game. He walked off on his own power, later walked around the stadium with no difficulty.
Zimmermann said after the game he hopes to be in D.C. for his next start. If he were, then he would take on the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
The Potomac Nationals would eventually lose the game 7-3.