All spring, Ryan Zimmerman has stood out among the third basemen fielding groundballs during the Nationals’ infield routine. The others would corral the ball and fire it across the diamond. Zimmerman would pull the ball out of his glove and toss it aside or lob it to home plate.

That changed today. Zimmerman, rebuilding his throwing mechanics after November shoulder surgery, took another step closer to returning to game action late this afternoon, fielding groundballs during pregame warmups and firing to second for the first time this spring.

Zimmerman has stretched out to 110 feet in his throwing program, so coaches and trainers allowed him to make the throws to second. By the end of the weekend, he plans to be throwing up to 120 feet and throwing across the infield.