MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nationals taking it slow with Zimmerman

First baseman missed time last season with plantar fasciitis in left foot

Nationals taking it slow with Zimmerman

JUPITER, Fla -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker said he hopes to get first baseman Ryan Zimmerman in a game in a couple of weeks. The team is simply taking it slow with Zimmerman, who missed more than a month last year because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

Baker said Zimmerman's foot is OK. Zimmerman started running the bases last week without any problems.

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"It's a cautious approach, knowing I don't need that many at-bats down here to get ready," Zimmerman said recently. "I would be more worried if I haven't been able to do everything else. I have participated in everything but the running, which I did for the first time [Tuesday], and I feel good today."

Worth noting:

• Catcher Wilson Ramos told Baker that he is seeing the ball remarkably well after having Lasik surgery last week. However, Baker warned that Ramos has to be careful that he doesn't get dust in his eye.

"When you see a remarkable turnaround like that, we have to make sure that he didn't get an infection or some of those things that happen during post op," Baker said. "He is happy and we're happy, and I have a feeling we are going to be happier."

• Closer Jonathan Papelbon has returned to the team after taking a one-day leave of absence because of a family emergency. Baker is not worried that Papelbon has not pitched in a game -- so far.

"If it was the last couple of weeks [of Spring Training], I would worry. We'll get him plenty of work," Baker said. "It's easy for a reliever to get prepared for one inning or an inning-and-a-fraction.

"I worry more about the degree of difficulty for a position player, who don't get at-bats in the spring -- like Jayson Werth [last year]. You are behind the eight-ball from the beginning and you are playing catchup the entire year. That is very difficult."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.