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WSH@PHI: Zimmermann exits game with apparent injury

Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann will return to the mound Tuesday against the Rockies for the first time since sustaining a biceps strain on July 11 in Philadelphia, looking to hand Colorado its seventh straight loss.

Zimmermann left that game against the Phillies with one out in the top of the fourth inning after experiencing cramping in his upper right arm. The right-hander allowed four earned runs on six hits before exiting because of the injury that ultimately forced him to sit out the All-Star Game for the second straight season.

"I obviously wanted to be there," said Zimmermann, who missed last year's Midsummer Classic because of a neck injury.

The extended time off, though, allowed Zimmermann to avoid a stint on the disabled list.

"I felt all along it was going to be fine," Zimmermann said Friday. "I knew that the break would help. ... I knew it wasn't that bad and just something where I needed a little rest."

Zimmermann threw long toss on Thursday and Friday before throwing a bullpen on Saturday. Manager Matt Williams said the session went well and Zimmermann is "good to go" for Tuesday without any limit on his pitch count.

"He can go as normal as long as he feels good," Williams said.

Zimmermann will take on rookie left-hander Yohan Flande in the second game of a three-game set at Coors Field. Flande will be recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs Tuesday to make his fourth career Major League start.

Flande, 28, spent nine seasons in the Minors before making his Major League debut this season against the Cardinals on June 25. His second start was easily his finest, though, as he limited the Nationals to three runs and six hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Rockies: Morneau to the DL
The Rockies placed Justin Morneau on the 15-day disabled list Monday with neck stiffness after the first baseman missed all three games against the Pirates this past weekend. The stint is retroactive to July 14.

Morneau has battled the neck stiffness on and off since Spring Training even though he's compiled a team-high 60 RBIs and batted .312 this season.

"We had some time on our side, being able to make it retroactive before the break, so it made sense at this point," manager Walt Weiss said.

Morneau underwent neck surgery in 2011 to remove a herniated disk fragment, but Weiss said that the current injury is not related to that.

Nationals: Harper sits for series opener
Bryce Harper got the day off for the Nationals' series-opening win against the Rockies on Monday night despite going 5-for-10 with a home run and two walks in the team's first series after the All-Star break this past weekend against the Brewers.

Manager Matt Williams attributed his decision to a number of things. Primarily, he said Harper hadn't seen left-handed pitching well recently, and the Nationals were set to face three left-handers in a row against Colorado.

Also, Williams said he wanted to find some at-bats for switch-hitting Danny Espinosa and provide sinkerballer Doug Fister with the best defensive infield possible: Espinosa at second base and Anthony Rendon at third.

"He's going to get days [off] on occasion," Williams said of Harper, who continues to fully recover from a torn left thumb ligament that forced him to miss two months earlier this season.

With the Nationals set to face Flande on Tuesday and left-hander Jorge De La Rosa on Wednesday, Williams said he would evaluate Harper's inclusion in the lineup on a game-by-game basis.

Worth noting
• Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was out of the lineup for the second straight game Monday night because of a left thigh injury. Tulowitzki doesn't expect the injury to require a stint on the disabled list, and he will test it on Tuesday with increased activity.

• The Rockies placed left-hander Boone Logan on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of a digestive condition known as diverticulitis. The team activated right-hander Nick Masset in a corresponding move.

• First baseman Ben Paulsen made his Major League debut for the Rockies on Monday night after spending six seasons in the minors. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Comments