The Washington Times - June 9, 2011, 09:43PM

SAN DIEGO — Lots of injury updates today from Petco Park so let’s dive right in:

Jerry Hairston Jr (Back): Hairston was pulled from Tuesday’s game with back spasms and did not play Wednesday, taking the opportunity to serve his one-game suspension and heal. He said Thursday that he felt much better and while not ready to start, was available for the Nationals game Thursday night with the Padres.


“I could go today if needed to,” Hairston said. Alex Cora got the start at third base in his absence but Hairston was relieved the pain had alleviated a bit.

“I can breathe, that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “When it locked up on me, it was definitely painful, but I got treated and definitely feel a lot better. It’s a weird feeling because obviously it’s not like a knee or a hamstring or anything. It’s my whole back. Just kind of a helpless feeling.”

Hairston’s back locked up on him Tuesday morning in San Francisco but he made it through the fifth inning before he could no longer play and needed to leave the game.

Jayson Werth (ankle): After being scratched from the lineup for two straight days, Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth was feeling well enough to play Thursday night after jamming his ankle on the bullpen mound Monday night attempting to make a play in foul territory at AT&T Park.

“At this point he’s not 100 percent but he’s ready to play,” said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. “Kind of like a lot of guys. Nobody’s really 100 percent when you go out too often so he’s getting ready to play.”

Werth did have some swelling in the heel of his foot Wednesday afternoon before the team left for San Diego but he was working to loosen things up before batting practice on the field Thursday.

Tom Gorzelanny (elbow): Nationals left-hander Tom Gorzelanny will pitch in a rehab game on Monday, an off day for the Nationals, and test his sore left elbow before the Nationals decide what the next step will be for him.

Gorzelanny’s turn in the rotation has been taken by Yunesky Maya the last three times through and it is likely that Maya will get at least one more start as Gorzelanny works his way back to the active roster. He’s been on the disabled list since May 26 (retroactive to May 23) with elbow inflammation. 

If all went well, the Nationals could opt to push their starters back a day, skip Maya/Gorzelanny’s spot and have Livan Hernandez pitch Tuesday, but Riggleman said that was unlikely. 

Doug Slaten (elbow): Not much to report on Doug Slaten, the left-handed reliever who is on the disabled list with left elbow ulnar neuritis. As of Thursday all that’s been prescribed for Slaten is rest. He’s not doing any throwing or baseball-related activities. 

Ryan Zimmerman (abdomen): Zimmerman was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in his fourth rehab start, third straight with the Potomac Nationals. Zimmerman was projected to need six weeks to return from surgery to repair a rectus tear in his abdomen. Six weeks from the date of surgery would be Tuesday, June 14.