SAN FRANCISCO -- The Nationals have a potential return date set for shortstop Ian Desmond, and it's a bit sooner than expected.
Washington's All-Star shortstop will be activated for Friday's series opener against the Mets, provided he gets through his full pregame workouts Tuesday and Wednesday and a simulated game Thursday without incident.
Desmond went through his first regular pregame workout Monday and took early batting practice Tuesday. He was scheduled to go through two more full workouts at AT&T Park before participating in a sim game against injured pitcher Chien-Ming Wang.
If Desmond comes through that in good health, Nationals manager Davey Johnson won't waste time getting him back in the lineup, although it will present Washington with a difficult roster decision.
"I plan on, unless Mike Rizzo ties my hand behind my back, activating him. So I'll keep my fingers crossed," Johnson said. "He's a horse. I want him back. We all want him back."
Desmond was in good spirits after his early hitting session, to the point that he pulled a good-natured joke on his manager. Desmond went into Johnson's office and said, "I'm hurting." Fearing another injury or a setback, Johnson replied, "Oh, no. How bad is it?"
"He said, 'My ears are hurting from the loud sound coming off my bat,'" Johnson said. "He got me. ... That was a good sign."