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Posted at 07:25 PM ET, 08/06/2012

Ian Desmond takes grounders, Nationals staying cautious with his return

Ian Desmond fielded ground balls this afternoon for the first time since the Nationals moved him to the disabled list with a strained oblique July 22. Desmond moved well, shuffling his feet and making short flips to a catch stationed in the center of the infield. Desmond also played catch from about 70 to 80 feet, without pain. “I felt great,” he said. “I feel fine.”

While Desmond’s drills were reassuring, his success will not alter the timeline for the return of the Nationals’ all-star shortstop. Nationals trainers and Manager Davey Johnson plan on holding him out for another two to three weeks, and Desmond will not push their advice.

“I already did that, and it didn’t work,” Desmond said. “I’m just going with the flow.”

Johnson planned to make sure Desmond does not rush back. He played through the injury for several months, skipping the All-Star Game in order to give it rest. Shortly after the break, it became untenable. Johnson does not want to do further damage and risk Desmond missing September and, if the Nationals make it, the postseason.

“I’m going to treat them like I would a hamstring. That’s very cautiously,” Johnson said. “You don’t rush him back. If you re-injure it, it’s double the time. I think it’s good that he’s doing some things, especially aerobically so the blood keeps getting in that area and cleansing it and gives it a chance for the body to heal it. But I would say he probably won’t do any hitting for at least 10 more days, maybe two weeks. But I want him doing actions that’ll keep that area moving and in use.”

By  |  07:25 PM ET, 08/06/2012

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