Zimmerman, Harper headed for visits with doctors (plus Ohlendorf, Jordan updates)

Two injured Nationals are due for doctor's visits next week to have their progress assessed.

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right thumb, is due for an X-ray on Monday, roughly the five-week mark since sustaining the injury.

"Once the doctor clears him, he can start all of his strengthening exercises," manager Matt Williams said Friday afternoon.

Zimmerman can run and catch throws now, but can't yet put any stress on the joint, which has been immobilized. Once the doctor clears him to resume baseball activities, Zimmerman will need to rebuild strength in the thumb, the manager said.

Williams isn't ready to put a timetable on Zimmerman's return.

"If we push him or he pushes himself too hard, and he re-fractures it, it's eight weeks minimum," Williams said. "So we don't want to do that."

Outfielder Bryce Harper, on the DL while recovering from surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb, will return to the Cleveland Clinic next week to be examined by Dr. Thomas Graham, who performed the procedure.

Right now, Harper is in a brace after having his stitches removed. He's been lifting weights, but waiting to resume baseball activity.

Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf, on the 60-day DL with a right lumbar strain, met the Nats when they returned for a three-game series with the Mets. Ohlendorf made his first minor league rehabilitation start on Wednesday for Single-A Potomac, allowing seven runs on 11 hits over 2 1/3 innings.

Williams said Ohlendorf would continued to be stretched out as a starting pitcher during his rehab stint. The Nationals were pleased that Ohlendorf threw at normal velocity without any discomfort.

"His velocity was good in his rehab start, his location wasn't good," Williams said. "He gave up some runs. Fastball was 90-94 (mph) - doesn't seem like there's any issues there physically."

Right-hander Taylor Jordan has experienced an uptick in his velocity since returning to Triple-A Syracuse, where he's posted an 0.82 ERA in two starts. Jordan has consistently been reaching 92-94 mph, Williams said.

"I think that helps his other pitches, too," Williams said. "Makes the changeup better, makes the slider better. Certainly the harder you throw with command, it makes it better. Last couple of times out, he's gradually getting stronger and stronger."

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