More on Jordan Zimmermann

Following Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the Mets, the Nationals placed right-hander Jordan Zimmermann on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 19, because of right elbow discomfort and recalled right-hander Collin Balester from Triple-A Syracuse.

Zimmermann was scheduled to pitch against the Cardinals on Thursday but Balester will get the nod instead. Balester, 23, went 6-4 with a 3.38 ERA in his last 12 starts with Syracuse. Over that period he posted 41 strikeouts and a .274 opponent’s batting average in 69 1/3 innings. Overall, he went 7-9 with a 4.35 ERA in 19 starts.

Zimmermann started feeling pain during his last start, against the Cubs on Saturday. When he again felt pain after a bullpen session on Tuesday, the Nationals decided to shut him down for three or four weeks. The hope is that he will be ready for a rehab assignment at that time.

“I’m not really concerned at all,” Zimmermann said. “I’m going to give it a little rest here and come back. I’ll have one rehab start and be ready to go.”

Once Zimmermann returns, he is expected to pitch the rest of the season, according to acting general manager Mike Rizzo. The original plan was to shut him down sometime in August.

“Zim could pitch tomorrow if he had to pitch,” Rizzo said. “Instead of sending him out there against the Cardinals and have him pitch in a stressful situation, we are going to be cautious and shut him down.

“He is one of our prize prospects, and we are not going to do anything crazy with him. Like we handle all of our pitchers, like [Ross] Detwiler, [Shairon] Martis, Craig Stammen, [John] Lannan and Zimmermann, we are going to be very careful with them and look out for their best interests long-term, not [with the] short-term goals of winning a game.”

Zimmermann, 23, is 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA in 16 starts this season. He is among the National League rookie leaders in strikeouts, starts, innings and wins.

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