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 WASHINGTON (AP) -Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman asked for and received a day off Sunday, likely putting an end to the majors' second-longest active consecutive games streak.
If Zimmerman isn't used as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement against the Pittsburgh Pirates, his streak would end at 205 games dating to Sept. 19, 2006. Atlanta outfielder Jeff Francoeur's 355 games in a row is the longest current streak.
With the Nationals scheduled for a day off Monday following an 11-game homestand, their longest of the season, manager Manny Acta figured the timing would provide a two-day respite for Zimmerman, who is hitting .217 with three home runs and 14 RBIs.
Zimmerman and Acta met in spring training and decided that there was no reason for the third baseman to play a full 162-game schedule.
Zimmerman insists his batting problems this season had nothing to do with the break.
``This has nothing do with me being beat up or me not doing so well at the plate or anything,'' he said.
But he didn't deny he could use the time to heal the bumps and bruises that come with playing third base.

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