HOUSTON — The Nationals nabbed Cesar Izturis off the waiver wire Monday morning as insurance in the middle infield but perhaps the best news they got about that area on their roster came Monday afternoon when shortstop Ian Desmond was on the field at Minute Maid Park taking ground balls and getting in a throwing workout for the first time since going on the disabled list July 22.
Desmond made throws from 70-80 feet and took several ground balls on the infield, making a shorter throw at that point as the Nationals’ trainers looked on.
The work may not speed up Desmond’s timetable for a return to the Nationals’ active roster all that much, especially as he’ll take a pragmatic approach and follow the trainers’ orders, but he came away encouraged by the way he’s been feeling. He will continue to work on throwing and fielding before he’s cleared to return to hitting.
“I don’t really know how to treat obliques,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “But in talking to (Nationals medical director Wiemi Douoguih), I’m going to treat them like I would a hamstring. That’s very cautiously. You don’t rush him back and if you reinjure it’s double the time.”
But Johnson also was encouraged by Desmond’s workout and urged him to continue doing light activity as he feels up to it. He did say, though, that he doesn’t expect the shortstop to begin hitting for at least 10 days to two weeks.
“I think it’s good that he’s doing some things,” Johnson said. “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 want him doing actions that’ll keep that area moving and in use. He’s been running for about a week, too, so all that is good and he feels great.”
The Nationals have missed Desmond both in the field and at the plate, as expected considering he was their most consistent offensive player until the injury struck. But Danny Espinosa has been filling in admirably well at shortstop, for the most part, which has made the agonizing wait until he’s healed a bit more tolerable for Desmond.