Catcher Wilson Ramos (left hand fracture) will be making his first rehab start tonight for the low Single-A Suns against the Lexington Legends at 5:05 p.m. at Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown.
Ramos has not appeared in a game since opening day against the Mets on March 31. He had surgery soon after to remove the hamate bone in his left hand. Ramos will serve as the designated hitter while Nationals top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito (1-0, 2.95 ERA) makes his sixth start. Giolito has 24 strikeouts in his first 21 1/3 innings so far this season.
Ramos has been on the disabled list since April 1. The Nationals lineup has suffered without his power and he was expected to have a huge step up year, providing an important addition to the offense. Ramos' hand started to hurt him in spring training, and he felt the pain during the game against the Mets on opening day before having to leave the contest in the late innings.
Scott Hairston (oblique) appears to have wrapped up his rehab for Triple-A Syracuse. He did not play yesterday after starting two games for the Chiefs, going 1-for-6.
Doug Fister (lat) had a solid outing for Double-A Harrisburg against Reading Friday. He is on schedule to make his first start for the Nats on Wednesday or Friday this week.
With Bryce Harper (left thumb sprain) out until July, Ryan Zimmerman (broken thumb) is the next on the rehab list to return. Unfortunately, The Washington Post reports Zimmerman has yet to be cleared for hand-strengthening exercises, so he will not be back in the next couple of weeks.
So that could mean that Ramos, Hairston and Fister could all be back in Nationals lineup by next week. That is a good sign as the team fights to stay close to the Braves in the National League East.
Update: Ramos served as the designated hitter Sunday evening and went 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk and three RBIs in Hagerstown's 10-8 victory over Lexington.