Manager Matt Williams said Wednesday during pregame that first baseman Adam LaRoche is right on target to be activated Sunday or Monday from the 15-day disabled list. LaRoche has been nursing a right quad strain. He has been on the disabled list since May 10. He is expected to play rehab games in the next day or two.
"Adam is going to go play," Williams confirmed. "He has got another test today. We are not sure on what exact day he is going to start playing. Could be tomorrow, could be Friday.
"He'll go out and go through a full BP and everything today, run a little bit more and make sure it is good. And we will make a determination after the game whether he is going to play tomorrow in a rehab game. If not tomorrow, it'll be Friday."
LaRoche looked good to go and in good form during his full batting practice session Wedneday after Williams spoke to the media.
"He can't come off (the DL) until Sunday," Williams said. "If it is tomorrow, then it is certainly a couple (of games.) If it is Friday, then we will look at how he comes through the first one. And look for a second one potentially Saturday."
The high Single-A Potomac Nationals are home Thursday to face Lynchburg at 7:05 p.m., before they head on a road trip to Salem.
The low Single-A Hagerstown Suns face Asheville for a four-game series beginning Thursday. The first three games are 7:05 p.m., starts.
So, LaRoche could play the first game of his rehab for Potomac on Thursday. Then, he would have the option of playing Friday and/or Saturday in Hagerstown.
A possible scenario would have LaRoche playing Thursday at Potomac and Friday at Hagerstown, then heading to Pittsburgh, which is only three hours away. But another scenario could be LaRoche playing Saturday night in Hagerstown and rejoining the Nats, but waiting until Monday's 1:35 p.m., Memorial Day special against the Marlins at Nationals Park to return to the active roster.
"Well, we don't know. Depends on how he comes through it. The challenge we have is a Saturday game somewhere, probably at night, and a Sunday day game in Pittsburgh followed by a Monday day game here," Williams said. "So that is a challenge. We will see how he gets through it and make a plan there.
"First order of business is getting through today and making sure there is no setback. Get him to a game at some point in the next couple of days. See how he comes through that. It wouldn't be nine innings right out of the chute. We will have to build him a little bit and see how it goes."
Williams has Greg Dobbs, Tyler Moore and Kevin Frandsen available, all of whom can play first base, but he would not speculate as to who will be sent out when LaRoche is activated.
"We haven't thought about it until we have to think about it," Williams said. "We have got games until he gets back. I am not sure. The good thing that T-Mo gives us is the ability to play left field as well. We will see how it goes."
Williams reported that left fielder Bryce Harper is still a ways away with a left thumb sprain. Harper has been on the disabled list since April 26.
"He saw the doctor, and the doctor said everything is progressing well," Williams said. "He is still only three weeks out. He will start seeing the (occupational therapist) and doing some minor things. It is really early still. We all hope that it's quick, and he is 21 and he is a miraculous healer. But the reality of it, it's going to take some time. He will start doing things small things in a controlled environment for mobility. But that is about all he can do right now."
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will throw on Friday in Pittsburgh, according to Williams. Gonzalez is on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation.