As the Nationals prepared for a possible champagne celebration in Atlanta, Ryan Zimmerman took a major step toward rejoining them for the season’s final week by playing three innings in an intrasquad minor league game at the Nationals’ spring training facility in Viera, Fla., on Tuesday.

Zimmerman “did great today,” Manager Matt Williams said. Zimmerman took five at-bats, able to hit whenever he wanted in the informal setting, and hit two doubles. He had no trouble running the bases on his right hamstring, which he tore July 22 in Colorado. He fielded grounders and took batting practice alongside minor leaguers.

The Nationals plan for Zimmerman to play five innings Wednesday — two at first base and three at third base — and then to take at-bats as a designated hitter Thursday.

“It’s like spring training for him right now,” Williams said. “You go through two or three days, and then you get sore. We’ll see how he comes out of that.”

Zimmerman will likely play seven innings Friday, and then the Nationals will decide if he’ll play another nine innings in Viera or join them Saturday in Miami to play the Marlins.

“He’s going to get sore,” Zimmerman said. “His body is going to be sore. His legs are going to be sore outside the injury. We’ve got to work him through that so he can just step in and he doesn’t have any issues.”

When Zimmerman returns, Williams will make a fascinating decision. Zimmerman could play first base, left field, third base or come off the bench.

“We don’t know that yet,” Williams said. “We have to make sure he gets through his injury first. Then we’ll have those decisions to make. They’re not easy. It is a very good problem to have when you have somebody like Zim coming back to your team with the ability to produce for you.”

Based on conversations with several people within and around the Nationals, they really are in a wait-and-see mode in regard to Zimmerman. They want to see how quickly he regains timing and make sure they don’t push his hamstring injury — another tear would end his season.

The likeliest scenario for the playoffs seems to be Zimmerman starting against left-handed pitchers — pushing either Bryce Harper or Adam LaRoche to the bench — and serving as an overqualified pinch hitter against right-handers. But it’s fluid. Zimmerman would force his way into the lineup if he hits like he did in July, when he punched up a .987 OPS.

“We do have some experience with it this year coming off” Zimmerman’s broken thumb, Williams said. “The first few games back, he was good. And then his timing started to go a little bit. It took him a while to get back at it. I think that’s normal. I think that would be the case with anybody that misses two months. You can come back and feel good and get by with adrenaline for a few days, and then it starts to settle in. You understand where you’re really at.”

For now, Zimmerman will play five innings on a back field in Viera. Tuesday, he had a good start to the latest phase of his recovery.

“The only thing that’s significant is he has to run the bases, which is important for his injury,” Williams said. “He turned the bases and was able to get to second base, no issues. He didn’t hit a hard grounder to the infield where he had to really go. I’m sure he’ll get one of those. His timing was okay. He was able to hit the ball in the gap. It’s a good sign. He had no issues.”