Updated at 11:09 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Zimmerman was scratched from the Nationals' lineup less than an hour before first pitch of tonight's game against the Phillies after telling manager Davey Johnson his right shoulder was sore.
Though Zimmerman insisted he could play, Johnson insisted his star third baseman take the night off. The manager said Zimmerman would return to the lineup for tomorrow's series finale at Citizens Bank Park.
"He wanted to play," Johnson said following a 5-2 victory. "I said: 'Let's just let the thing calm down. We're in a war here. We can lose this battle, but I need you for three games in Atlanta.' They're the ones on top, and we need to put our best foot forward down there. Not that I'm slighting this club, but if we've got a chance to nip this thing in the bud, I'm nipping it in the bud."
Zimmerman spent two weeks on the disabled list earlier this season with inflammation in the AC joint of that shoulder but returned on May 8 and had been swinging a potent bat in recent days. Over his last five games, he's hitting .348 with a homer and three RBI.
He said the soreness he's felt the last two days was not in the same area as the previous injury and downplayed the significance of this day off.
"I think it's just from playing every day again, coming back," Zimmerman said. "It's not even in the same region as the other one. It's just general soreness. I took BP. I did everything I usually do today to play a game, and then Davey just wouldn't let me play. He's the boss, I guess."
Chad Tracy, celebrating his 32nd birthday, started in Zimmerman's place and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.