Despite a prediction that he would miss 18 months, Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, who starts against Mike Pelfrey today in Washington, returned from Tommy John surgery in about a year. Zimmermann was the No. 1 draft pick in 2008. He was overshadowed by Stephen Strasburg, the top pick in 2009.

But now, Zimmermann has the stage to himself.  Strasburg under Tommy John surgery last week and is not expected back until the 2012 season.  Dr. Lewis Yocum, who also operated on Zimmerman, said the procedure was successful.

Zimmermann allowed five runs to the Cardinals in his first outing on Aug. 26, but followed that with a brilliant one-hit, nine-strikeout performance in six innings against the Marlins.

Pelfrey (13-8, 3.71) will be going for a career high in victories. He allowed four runs and nine hits to the Braves last Wednesday in Atlanta. He had been 3-1 with a 1.20 ERA in his four previous starts.