Nationals ready for relaxing break
Many players plan to recharge batteries for second half
WASHINGTON -- Tim Redding will be going to New York for the All-Star break, and though he won't be going Yankee Stadium, he'll still be going in style. Redding plans on driving back home to see family in Rochester, N.Y., over the three-day layoff -- in his newly-bought red 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang.
The Nationals pitcher is one of the 24 players not named Cristian Guzman who will spend their All-Star break relaxing and staying away from baseball for three short days, resting up to finish out the season.
"If you're not in the [All-Star] Game, it's a chance for you to let your body get some rest," Redding said. "You get three full days off without having to do any kind of baseball activity. You let your aches and pains kind of recuperate."
The Midsummer Classic offers a similar release for most Major Leaguers, who take the time to relax -- like Dmitri Young -- do some sightseeing -- like Charlie Manning -- or go see family -- like Jesus Flores.
For Ryan Zimmerman, there is no release, no time off, but instead something better: the chance to play for the first time in nearly two months. The Nationals third baseman will head out Monday on a six-game rehab assignment -- two games with Class A Potomac and four games with Triple-A Columbus.
"It's, obviously, a little different level of intensity, but I'll be happy if everything feels good," Zimmerman said. "I just want to go out and play and not even think about it."
Zimmerman said Sunday he's going to DH in Potomac and play in the field in Columbus. Most importantly, he wants to make sure he's back in game shape and ready to rejoin the Nationals soon after the All-Star break. He added that the extra lifting he's done to strengthen his injured left shoulder has made it stronger than it was before the injury.
Young, Washington's representative in the All-Star Game last year, will be staying home and resting his ailing back. Young left Friday's 10-0 win against Houston with tightness in his back, but by resting Saturday and Sunday, and taking it easy over the break, Young is confident he'll be ready to go on Friday in Atlanta.
Until then, he'll stay around D.C., doing his best to do nothing at all and rest his back.
"I'm gonna be the guy on the couch," Young said with a smile.
Manning is staying in D.C., too, but he doesn't plan on staying home much. Manning, called up in May, said he has a city full of museums and monuments he'd like to go see, and he plans on spending the break taking in the capital city.
"I'm into history stuff, so I'd like to go see the Smithsonian and all that stuff there," Manning said. "Nothing really too exciting, just resting and relaxing."
Flores is one Nationals player who won't be staying in D.C. He said he's going to take full advantage of the break and go visit family in Venezuela.
Though it's a welcome break, Manning said baseball is still on his mind when he's off.
"You still think about baseball," Manning said. "But it's kind of nice to have a couple of days off here and there to rest your body."
For his part, Redding said he's not going to think about baseball unless he's playing with his son. The veteran pitcher said he plans on relaxing, spending time with his family and enjoying his new car.
He'll take his time, though.
"I'm not gonna be able to speed," Redding said. "It would defeat the purpose of enjoying it."
Zachary Osterman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.