Bill Ladson

Zimmerman picks up pace in pregame drills

Injured third baseman running at 50-60 percent effort

Zimmerman picks up pace in pregame drills

NEW YORK -- Ryan Zimmerman traveled with the Nationals to Citi Field and had a full workout before Thursday's game against the Mets. Besides taking batting practice, Zimmerman worked out at third and first base, and plans to take reps in left field as well this weekend. It was the first time he was able to take fielding practice.

Even more impressive, Zimmerman, who suffered a Grade 3 hamstring strain in July, was able to run and take cuts on the left-field warning track and didn't have problems. He said he is running at about 50 to 60 percent effort.

"I obviously picked up my activity a little bit. When you do that, you have to make sure that everything feels good, you don't get sore the day after," Zimmerman said. "That's why this process has a little time to go. So far everything has been positive. It's going in the right direction. That's all you can ask for."

If things continue to go well, Zimmerman will go to Viera, Fla., and play in the instructional league as early as next week when the Nationals will be in Atlanta to play the Braves. The team already told Zimmerman that he will play three positions while he is there.

"Whatever they need me to do to help us win," Zimmerman said. "This is obviously a very good team with an opportunity to do something special. I still have a lot of work to do and have a long way to go. A lot of things have to go right for us to get where we want to get to. But the only thing you want is a chance. I think we are going to have a chance."

The Nationals will make the final decision on Zimmerman and his time in the instructional league by the end of the four-game series in New York.

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