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07/09/08 12:40 AM ET

Injured Zimmerman takes swings

Third baseman eager to return to power-hitting form

WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman took batting practice on Tuesday afternoon. It marked the first time since being placed on the 15-day disabled list that Zimmerman could do such a drill.

Unlike his last batting practice in Arizona on May 31, Zimmerman was able to swing the bat hard and hit line drives. Zimmerman is expected to take BP again on Wednesday. Zimmerman had already taken dry swings and soft tosses.

The Nationals are hoping that Zimmerman will return to action by late July or sometime in August. The Nationals are 12-27 since Zimmerman went on the DL, entering Tuesday's action.

"I felt good. I think I'm strong again. Now, it's just a matter of getting in shape and swinging -- see if I can continue to progress and see if I can do it," Zimmerman said. "The ultimate goal is to play. ... I felt I hit the ball well. I had some carry on the ball. The big thing for me is to be able to be productive. I don't want to come out here and be a singles hitter. We have plenty of guys capable of doing that. If I can't drive the ball and hit for power, I'm not going to come out here and play."

Meanwhile, closer Chad Cordero had surgery on his right shoulder in Southern California. Dr. Louis Yocum performed the surgery and found labrum and biceps tendon tears in the shoulder.

According to Dr. Benjamin Shaffer, the Nationals' orthopedist, Cordero will be in a sling for three weeks and will then start a rehab program with the expectation he will begin a throwing program in four months. The team is hoping that Cordero will be ready for Spring Training. It helps that Cordero's rotator cuff is in great shape.

Reliever Ryan Wagner was in Washington for some long tossing drills on Tuesday, but he will return to Class A Potomac to continue his rehab assignment. In two games for Potomac, Wagner hasn't given up a run in 1 2/3 innings.

Wagner has not played a Major League game since early last year because of a tear in his right shoulder.

"I would think I'll be back at the end of my rehab stint," Wagner said. "Yesterday, [I was] throwing my slider. I hadn't seen that slider in a couple years. I'd like to think that's right back where it needs to be. The velocity was very good on it. Sinker -- the velocity was good too, it was 91 [mph]. Stuff seems like it's there, so that's a good sign."

The Nationals placed outfielder Elijah Dukes on the 15-day disabled list -- retroactive to July 6 -- with a meniscus tear and partial tear of the patella tendon in his right knee, and recalled outfielder/infielder Kory Casto from Triple-A Columbus.

Casto will pinch-hit and get occasional starts in the outfield.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.