Zimmerman honored to catch Obama

Zimmerman honored to catch Obama

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is scheduled to throw out the first pitch before the Nationals' home opener against the Phillies at Nationals Park on Monday, and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will have the distinction of catching the ball.

A few minutes before the pitch is thrown, catcher Ivan Rodriguez is expected to help warm up the president, according to a team spokesman.

Zimmerman said he is excited about catching President Obama's first pitch. The last member of the Nationals to catch a president's first pitch was former manager Manny Acta, who caught President George W. Bush's first pitch during the team's home opener in 2008.

"Any time the leader of your country is involved [in the first pitch], it's an honor and I look forward to it," Zimmerman said. "Any time the team asks you to do something like that, obviously, you are going to do it."

Said Rodriguez about warming up the president: "It's big. It's the right time to be part of it. President Obama is going to be around here shaking everybody's hand. I never met him. I look forward to meeting him on Monday."

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