Manager Matt Williams is excited at the prospect of getting three starters back by the end of the week. He got one back Monday.
Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos (hand) started for Double-A Harrisburg on Monday night. Scott Hairston (oblique) was activated off the disabled list before Monday’s opener against the Dodgers. Doug Fister (lat) is expected to make his Nationals debut Friday night at Oakland.
But Williams would like it even more if no one else gets hurt for a little while.
“We just don’t want to lose any more,” Williams said. “We have to be careful with Wilson (Ramos) certainly, coming off the injury. It seems as if you can never have enough rehab games, but you also want him back in the big leagues so he can be productive and play. We have to be careful with that.
“The way that it sets up over the next seven days including the off day, there is a potential we will see a lot of left-handers so that points in a good direction for Scotty (Hairston), get him back in the fold. And then of course, Doug (Fister) make his first start Friday. Those are all good things. We still have to play well though.”
With Ramos now rehabbing at Double-A, can he rejoin the Nats soon?
“That is up in the air,” Williams said. “The final test today is for him to catch nine innings. That is the plan today and see where he is after that, make sure that he feels good.
“Ultimately, we would love for him run the bases more. The problem is he has been hitting it over the fence. That is a hard one. You would like him to go first to third or try to score from first, make sure that he has done all those things that you would normally do.
“He hasn’t provided that opportunity because he has been hitting over the fence all the time,” Williams said. “Which is a good thing, but that is why a worry about it a little bit. (We need to) make sure he gets through a full game with the constant pounding on the hand. There doesn’t seem to be an issue there with him catching.
“All things point to him being available at some point this week. Exactly when, we don’t know.”
Williams likes having Hairston available again because of the experience he brings to the club.
“It’s veteran right-hander off the bench,” Williams said of Hairston. “It is power. Certainly matches up well against left-handed pitching.”
“It feels great to be back,” Hairston said. “It was just a couple of days but it felt a lot longer than that. It is always very welcoming when you come back to the big league level. I am ready to contribute, I feel good.”
Hairston said this is the third time he has had to recover from an oblique injury in his career. So he knows it is nothing to mess with, and he needed to be 100 percent before returning.
“Just getting back into the swing of things,” Hairston said. “I played nine innings a few games, felt good. But just working out the timing as a hitter, that is always the biggest challenge.”
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said he can’t do any baseball related activities with his right thumb right now. He can lift and run and workout but can’t throw yet. He has one week left on the initial four weeks after surgery. He had his glove on during batting practice and a soft splint on the thumb and had an x-ray again today to check the thumb’s healing process.
Zimmerman said the x-ray went well and was just to make sure it is still in line for the bone to heal properly.
“Everything is good so far,” Zimmerman said as he trotted out to join his team during batting practice.