Hairston progressing, but sets no timetable on return

Hairston progressing, but sets no timetable on return

WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Scott Hairston, who is on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, has been taking swings in the batting cage and hopes to progress to a Minor League rehab assignment soon.

Hairston was set to hit in the cage for the third time before Sunday's game, taking cuts at about 75 percent intensity. If that went well, he would progress to hitting on the field, shagging fly balls and going through other normal pregame activities with the team. A rehab assignment would follow after that. With all of those steps to make, Hairston was hesitant to set a target date for his return.

"I'm just setting really small goals right now," said Hairston, who was placed on the 15-day DL on April 6. "We'll complete steps one and two before we see the finish line."

Hairston did say he considers himself to be "right on schedule," since he hasn't suffered any setbacks. But having dealt with oblique issues in the past, he also knows that progress can prove fleeting.

"It's one of those things where it can feel all right. Then you go out there and take a game-like hack and you're back to square one," Hairston said. "So you really have to make sure you're healed and ready to go."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.