Former Express pitcher Jordan Zimmermann named to NL All-star team for second straight year

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WASHINGTON (WEAU) -- For the second year in a row, Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will be part of the All-Star festivities. Unlike last year, he expects to play in the game.

Zimmermann didn't play in last year's Midsummer Classic because of neck issues, but he did take his family to Citi Field in New York.

According to Zimmermann, Minnesota is three hours away from his home town of Auburndale, Wis., so he plans to take his family to the special event again. Zimmermann found out he was going to be an All-Star before Sunday's 2-1 win against the Cubs. Manager Matt Williams held a team meeting and gave the news to the entire team.

"It's a huge honor," Zimmermann said after pitching six scoreless innings in the game. "I'm excited. I wouldn't be going if it wasn't for those guys who play defense behind me every day and our catchers calling the pitches. I don't have high strikeout numbers. I let the batter put it in play. Those guys make the plays behind me. As much as it's me going, it actually those guys, too."

Considered by many to be the ace of the Nationals' pitching staff, Zimmermann is having another solid season, going 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA. Zimmermann has been strong for more than a month. In his last seven starts, Zimmermann has three wins with a 1.26 ERA. He's found his slider, which was missing during the first two months of the season.

"Five weeks ago, I was thinking I would be on vacation [for the All-Star break]," Zimmermann said. "I just started throwing strikes and locating better. The slider finally came back. I didn't have it for a month and a half. I was able to get that back. That's a big pitch."

Williams said he is happy that Zimmermann can represent the Nationals in the All-Star Game.

"It's a special thing, so he will have a lot of fun," Williams said. "Anytime a player gets to go and be a part of that, it's a special time. We are looking forward to seeing him compete. We are proud of him and he deserves it."

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