Wilson Ramos, Scott Hairston nearing returns

Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos (40) greets bench coach Randy Knorr (53) and others, during introductions before a baseball home opener at Nationals Park Friday, April 4, 2014, in Washington. Ramos injured his hand in the season opener and is on the disabled list. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

While the Nationals suffered another blow by placing Bryce Harper on the disabled list, they should receive a boost soon from a wave of injured players nearing returns.

Right-hander Doug Fister, the Nationals’ prized offseason acquisition who has been on the disabled list all season with a lat strain, is making his first rehab start Sunday in Potomac. If Fister stays on schedule, he could make his debut as soon as May 7. Meanwhile, both catcher Wilson Ramos and Scott Hairston planned to leave Sunday for Florida and extended spring training.

The most promising development pertains to Ramos. The Nationals expected him to miss four to eight weeks when he broke the hamate bone in his left hand on opening. It now appears Ramos will miss much closer to four — he may return as soon as the Nationals’ next homestand, which begins May 5 against the Dodgers.

Saturday afternoon, Ramos caught pitches and made throws to second base for the first time. Ramos said he plans to take at-bats in extended spring training games Monday and Tuesday, and then fly back to Washington on Wednesday. He hopes to play four rehab games at Class AA Harrisburg, and then return once the Nationals return from Philadelphia.

“I feel a lot better,” Ramos said.

Hairston will also spend two or three days at extended spring training and then head to Class AAA Syracuse for a rehab assignment. Hairston has been on the disabled list since April 6 with an oblique strain.

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