WSH@ATL: Zimmerman charges to get out on slow roller

WASHINGTON -- Monday will mark five weeks since Ryan Zimmerman fractured his right thumb, and the Nationals third baseman will undergo his second X-ray in as many weeks on that day.

Zimmerman had an X-ray on his thumb last week, but right now, Nats manager Matt Williams isn't putting a timetable on Zimmerman's return.

"Once the doctor clears him, then he can start all his strengthening exercises," Williams said.

Williams said that Zimmerman is capable of lifting, running and catching balls, but still can't put any stress on the fractured thumb, which has been "immobilized." So Zimmerman will have work to do to get the thumb back to full strength.

"It's a question of pain tolerance," the Nationals manager said. "Continue to look at the X-rays and not go too fast. If we push him or he pushes himself too hard and he re-fractures it, that's eight weeks -- minimum."

Washington has also checked on Zimmerman's shoulder during the process, and if there's any silver lining for the Nats, it's that the inflammation that has perpetually bothered him is gone.

"We can certainly feel confident that the inflammation's out of there," Williams said.

Stitches out, Harper working out in DC

SD@WSH: Harper hits bases-clearing triple, jams thumb

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper is back in Washington and moving along in the process of returning from his injured thumb.

The outfielder tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on April 27, and he underwent surgery two days later.

"The stitches are out and he's in a brace," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "He is going to get checked out as well next week by the doctor and go see the specialist."

Harper has been visiting a specialist in Cleveland and will head back there next week.

While he's in Washington, though, Harper's lifting and working toward being at full strength when he returns, although that still involves plenty of waiting.

"He's still very early in the process," Williams said. "Once he's healed, though, he's able to do everything he wants to do."

After 'whirlwind' week, Dobbs joins Nats

WSH@MIA: Dobbs' single to right drives in Solano

WASHINGTON -- For Greg Dobbs, his journey to Washington has been three years in the making.

Prior to the 2012 season, he saw something developing and wanted to be a part of it, but he wanted a longer contract than the Nationals were willing to offer and he re-signed with the Marlins.

As Miami struggled, Dobbs watched his NL East rival string together consecutive successful seasons, including a division title in 2012.

"I chose here because I wanted to sign here three years ago out of free agency," Dobbs said. "Watching that for the last 2 1/2 years from the other side, I like to think I'm pretty smart."

Dobbs was released by Miami on May 6 after starting the season 1-for-13, and just a few days later, he was on the phone with Washington general manager Mike Rizzo. The GM, along with assistant GM Doug Harris, decided that Dobbs would head down to Viera, Fla., for a "mini Spring Training," Dobbs said.

The utility man played six games in Viera, and the Nats officially announced Dobbs' signing on Monday before adding him to the Major League roster on Friday.

"It's been a whirlwind," Dobbs said. "It's the first time I've been through something like this in my career."

The utility man -- capable of playing both corner infield and corner outfield spots -- joins the Nationals in the midst of an up-and-down stretch, though. The Nats' Opening Day first baseman, third baseman and left fielder are all on the disabled list. Dobbs has the ability to fill all of those spots and provide the Nationals with an experienced left-handed bat off the bench.

That, and Washington is now the third NL East team that Dobbs will play for. Dobbs also played for the Phillies from 2007-2010.

"He's familiar with the National League East," Nats manager Matt Williams said. "He's a professional hitter off the bench."

Worth noting

• Like Harper, Ross Ohlendorf is back in Washington as he rehabs an injury. The pitcher has been sidelined for the entire season with a back injury. He struggled in a rehab start with Class A Advanced Potomac, but he threw a regularly scheduled bullpen session. The Nationals are still preparing him to be a starting pitcher.

• The Nats sent Taylor Jordan down to Triple-A Syracuse on April 29, but the starting pitcher has been excellent in his two appearances with the Chiefs. He has an 0.82 ERA in 11 innings, and his fastball velocity is back up to 92-94 mph. "I think that helps his other pitches, too," Williams said.