The Washington Times - June 7, 2012, 01:03PM

Things have not been easy for Mark DeRosa lately. While the Nationals veteran utility man has been trying to heal from a strained left oblique muscle, he’s also been tending to the side of his father, who is very ill with cancer. 

His own physical ailments appear to be healing, through, as DeRosa has been cleared to begin a rehab assignment and will do so Thursday with Single-A Potomac. The issue will most likely linger for DeRosa, as this injury is known to do, but the Nationals’ doctors cleared him to resume playing.

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“It’s going to depend on ‘Can he play with it, without it getting worse?’” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “Mark things he can. So I’m going to let him go out and, for me, as much experience as he’s got, if he can go through a couple days without aggravating it any worse, I’ll activate him.”

The Nationals added Tyler Moore back to the major league roster on Thursday morning when they placed Carlos Maldonado on the disabled list with a sore back, but if DeRosa is ready soon, Moore’s stay in the majors might be abbreviated.

– Right-hander Ryan Mattheus took pitchers fielding practice on Thursday and came through the mini-workout with “flying colors” with regard to the partial tear in the plantar fascia on his left foot. Mattheus, who has been dealing with plantar fasciitis for most of the season said the pain he dealt with before has actually been relieved since he tore it and it feels great pitching.

Mattheus is progressing well enough that instead of going to Viera, Fla., on Friday to continue rehabbing he will instead go to Single-A Potomac to throw a simulated game and begin a rehab assignment in the minor leagues on Sunday.

“We’ll see where he is at that point,” Johnson said. “But he’s way ahead of schedule.