The Nationals activated outfielder Scott Hairston off the 15-day disabled list on Monday in the first move of what should be a week full of getting players back from injury.
Hairston was sidelined by a left oblique strain and is now ready to step in, while in the coming days both catcher Wilson Ramos (broken hand) and pitcher Doug Fister (right lat strain) are also slated to return.
"We just don't want to lose any more," manager Matt Williams said. "That's all good. Those are all good things, but we still have to play well though."
Hairston was activated Monday afternoon as the team sent outfielder Steven Souza, Jr. back down to Triple-A Syracuse. Hairston can now help out in left field with Bryce Harper sidelined with a surgically repaired left thumb.
"It feels great to be back. It was just a couple of days, but it felt like a lot longer than that," Hairston said. "It's always very welcoming when you come back to the big league level. I'm ready to contribute, I feel good."
Williams expects Hairston to play mostly against left-handed pitching, as the veteran holds a career .816 OPS vs. southpaws.
"Scotty just brings veteran capability in every aspect and he's proven it," Williams said. "It's a veteran right-hander off the bench. It's power. He certainly matches up well against left-handed pitching."
Williams also gave updates on Ramos and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Ramos is expected to catch nine innings in a minor league rehab game Monday night with the Harrisburg Senators as he continues to recover from a broken hamate bone in his left hand.
"His plan today is to catch nine, make sure he gets through a full game with constant pounding on the hand," Williams said. "There doesn't seem to be an issue there with him catching, so all things point to him being available at some point this week. Exactly when, I don't know."
Zimmerman is out with a fractured right thumb, but had another X-ray on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday the Nationals could have a better idea of his specific timeline to return.
"They’ll send [the X-ray] off to the doc to look at and then make the plan from there," Williams said. "But we don’t have that result back yet. So generally it’s about four weeks -- so this is week three -- and generally it’s about four weeks to see some callusing there, to let him progress to the next level. That next level will be being able to strengthen it, do things with the thumb and progress from there. He’s doing all the other stuff. He’s able to lift and do all those things and kind of keep it away, but that’s about it for now. So we’ll see what the X-rays show today and where we can go from there."