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Why Ryan Zimmerman is back in the lineup

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit a routine ground ball while pinch hitting in the eighth inning of Friday's win over the Milwaukee Brewers and ran hard down the first base line. Manager Jim Riggleman did not want Zimmerman to run so hard after Zimmerman missed five starts because of a sore hamstring. But the way Zimmerman ran showed Riggleman that Zimmerman was prepared to rejoin to the lineup.

"He's pretty close to 100 percent," Riggleman said. "He felt he's been ready for a day or two, so after running down the line the way he did last night, we felt pretty confident that we can get through without him re-aggravating it."

Riggleman said that he might not have been as confident that Zimmerman was ready had Zimmerman not run hard down to first base, but the key test was going to be how Zimmerman felt Saturday morning after stretching and running the bases "extensively." Zimmerman said he felt fine running on Friday and felt ready to return to the lineup.

"That's the point of taking the days off," Zimmerman said. "You get to the point you feel good, and you go for it."

But he never would have reached this point had he not defied Riggleman's wishes by running hard to third base and risking re-aggravation.

"I was trying to yell to him 'take it easy' the first couple strides, but he maintained his pace and tried to beat it out," Riggleman said. "No harm done, but it's not what I wanted to happen."

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By Zach Berman  |  April 17, 2010; 12:46 PM ET
 | Tags: Jim Riggleman, Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals  
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Next: Game 11 discussion thread


Interesting that Riggleman was so publicly displeased with Zimm hustling on that play. I see his point, but I don't think you're going to get Zimm to not run out a ground ball. It hope it implies a good relationship between them, that he could say that about Peter Franchise.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 17, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Nah, Riggleman is grouchy with him for a good reason. It's like your dad scolding you for running out in the street.

I'm glad because when I saw him try to beat that play I just knew we'd see him out another 5 or more games. Whew.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 17, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman is just toeing the line. I'm sure he was extremely pleased to see the effort but wanted to reign in our lone franchise position player.

That sort of hard play only rubs off on the Desmonds and Maxwells of the roster, and nobody realizes that more than Riggs.

Posted by: mjsciann1 | April 18, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

"defied Riggleman's wishes by running hard to third base and risking re-aggravation."

I thought the play was Zim hitting into a double play and running hard to FIRST.

Posted by: boywaja | April 18, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

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