07/09/11 6:35 PM ET
Johnson wants to discuss Zimmermann plan
By Steven Miller / MLB.com
He plans to finally get around to them over the All-Star break, but first he has to sit down and discuss a second-half plan for Jordan Zimmermann. The Nationals placed a 160-inning limit on the right-hander, and pitching coach Steve McCatty drew up a plan to get Zimmermann to that mark once the roster expands in September.
"I've heard the plan, and I'm not that comfortable with it," Johnson said. "We'll have a healthy break to discuss that. I'm not quite set on how that will go down."
Zimmermann is already at 108 2/3 innings in his first full season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and he has another start Sunday against the Rockies. He only has five wins to show for it, but his 2.82 ERA is the best on the team.
With the club having a .500 record at the latest point in the season since finishing 2005 at 81-81, Johnson does not want to toy around with his best starter's schedule and lose him in the middle of a potential playoff race.
"He's obviously pitched a lot better than a fifth starter, so if we're trying to win ... you can figure it out," Johnson said. "I don't know if this is a medical decision and he needs extra rest. There's all kinds of things to talk about, and [the decision] is probably being made above me by smart doctors, but I'm looking at it from a baseball standpoint."
Johnson already said Zimmermann will be Washington's fifth starter in the second half, but would prefer he pitch on a regular schedule. If there is an off-day and Zimmermann is bumped, he understands, but he does not want to recall pitchers for spot starts.
Johnson is OK with Zimmermann potentially hitting his inning limit before September callups if it means a regular schedule. And he understands he should be prepared to have the same conversations next season when Stephen Strasburg returns to the rotation.
"You really want to be careful about guys coming back from an injury," Johnson said. "Maybe instead of Strasburg and Zim being Nos. 1 and 2, they're 4 and 5. I'd hate to think that, but I don't know."
Lannan feeling OK, expects to make next start
WASHINGTON -- John Lannan returned to Nationals Park on Saturday, a day after taking a line drive off his face, and he only had minimal swelling to show for it.
Lannan, who broke a bone on the side of his nose, maintains it is a minor issue and he will be able to make his first start after the All-Star break Saturday in Atlanta.
"I guess I got a piece of it with my glove and was able to move my head a little bit, so it nicked my nose," Lannan said. "At the time, I didn't know what was going on. I just saw blood and figured I wouldn't be able to pitch anymore, so I walked off. It wasn't as bad as it looked."
Ty Wigginton sent Lannan's fourth-inning sinker right back up the middle. Lannan watched the replay of the injury without any problem, he just wishes he threw a changeup instead.
The left-hander retired the first 10 Rockies he faced, and struck out five until Wigginton capped a stretch of three consecutive singles.
"That inning I just left balls over the plate," Lannan said. "It wasn't like that was the only hard-hit ball. They all squared me up pretty good."
Lannan dropped to his knees and covered his face, then jumped up and went immediately to the clubhouse. He underwent an X-ray at the ballpark, then went to the hospital, but did not spend the night.
The only issue now is a little nasal congestion caused by some blood, but manager Davey Johnson expects to start Lannan on Saturday, barring any setbacks.
"I've got the All-Star break to relax and enjoy some off-days, but I'm pretty sure I'll be OK," Lannan said.
Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.