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Ryan Zimmerman not expected to return before Tuesday

May 2, 2012, 7:22 PM EDT

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Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (sore right shoulder) told reporters on Tuesday that he is aiming to return from the 15-day disabled list in time for Sunday night’s game against the division rival Phillies. But it’s just not going to happen.

According to beat writer Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington’s Nats Insider, manager Davey Johnson said this afternoon that Zimmerman “likely won’t come off” the DL until at least next Tuesday, when Washington opens a series in Pittsburgh.

The 27-year-old hasn’t experienced a setback and is telling people that he feels “great,” but he’s dealt with shoulder issues in the past and the Nationals don’t want to make the mistake of rushing him back too early.

Zimmerman will hit off a tee for the first time Friday. He has already begun playing regular games of catch.

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