Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 21 Hrs

Zimmerman (hamstring) played five innings in an instructional league game Wednesday, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports.

Leading off every inning for both "teams" in the simulated outing, Zimmerman went 4-for-8 at the dish, while playing two innings at third base and three at first. He'll DH on Thursday and then play seven innings in left field Friday, with a decision on his return to the big club to follow. There's a chance he could be back as soon as Saturday against the Marlins.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 2 Days

Zimmerman (hamstring) will play five innings in a simulated game Wednesday, serve as the DH Thursday and play seven innings Friday, after which the Nationals will determine whether he's ready to return Dan Kolko of MASN reports.

Zimmerman played a simulated game Tuesday, notching two doubles in five at-bats. He'll continue to see work in a simulated environment for the rest of the week, and it's possible he'll rejoin the Nationals over the weekend. If that's the case, the Nats aren't likely to use him on an everyday basis, as they hope to have Zimmerman at full strength come playoff time.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 3 Days

Zimmerman (hamstring) went through a full workout with the Nationals' instructional league team Monday and will play three innings of offense and defense (first base) in a simulated game Tuesday.

Following Tuesday's action, Zimmerman is expected to play five innings Wednesday, play as the designated hitter on Thursday, and then the Nationals will evaluate what the next step in his rehab will be. It's looking like a return to the Nationals during the final two weeks of the regular season is a possibility, but it has already been reported that upon his return, he won't be an everyday player, so there's still very little single-season fantasy upside here. He could very well be a key part of a postseason run, however, which is all Washington is worried about.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 6 Days

Zimmerman (hamstring) will face live pitching with the Nationals' instructional league team in Florida on Monday, the Washington Post reports.

Zimmerman will take another step towards his return Monday when he finally faces live pitching. He is also expected to play in a rehab game with the team at some point next week, which is the last step before returning to the Nats. The veteran third baseman should return to the team before the end of the season and will likely participate in the playoffs if the Nationals make it.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 7 Days

Zimmerman (hamstring) is tentatively scheduled to play in an instructional league game next week, William Ladson of MLB.com reports.

A specific date has not been set, but it sounds like Zimmerman will get into a game in a controlled environment next week, close to two months after hitting the DL. Zimmerman took a significant step forward in his recovery from a hamstring strain Tuesday with on-field batting practice, and he's expected to go through a full on-field workout at Citi Field prior to Friday's contest.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 9 Days

Zimmerman (hamstring) took on-field batting practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering his injury, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports.

It represents a significant step forward for Zimmerman, who had been shut down from baseball activities since straining his right hamstring back on July 22. However, Zimmerman's biggest hurdles still await. He said after Tuesday's batting practice session that he's running at only 50-60 percent, so it seems like a bit of a long shot to think he could make it back during the front half of the team's upcoming 11-game road trip.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 10 Days

Zimmerman (hamstring) has yet to resume baseball activities and remains without a timetable for a return, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports.

Zimmerman was jogging at close to 100 percent over the weekend, but both player and organization have remained tight-lipped when pressed about when he might be able to swing a bat or run the bases. Manager Matt Williams has acknowledged that when healthy, Zimmerman will be sent to the instructional league to get some at-bats on his ledger, with an activation from the DL likely to follow. However, there's a real chance that Zimmerman's return to the Nationals might not come until the final two weeks of the season, with a role as a utility player at third base, first base and left field likely looming.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 13 Days

Zimmerman (hamstring) ran at 90 percent on an anti-gravity treadmill Friday, but is still not able to swing a bat, the Washington Post's James Wagner reports.

The Nationals announced earlier in the week that upon Zimmerman's return, he'll just be a part-time player, considering how much depth the Nationals have and how important it is to have Zimmerman healthy for the playoffs. Once he is able to swing a bat, he will be able to begin taking batting practice, which would signal he is close to game action. However, for fantasy purposes, there isn't much reason to hold on to Zimmerman in shallower leagues, as he won't even be playing everyday once he returns.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 14 Days

Manager Matt Williams suggested Wednesday that Zimmerman (hamstring) would likely be used as a utility player rather than a regular option for the Nationals when he returns from the DL, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. "[Zimmerman's] certainly got the ability to play three positions for us," Williams said. "He can play third. He can play left. He can play first, depending on where the need is. That being said, I want to make sure we're not throwing him in there every day, to make sure that he's good to go."

To this point, Zimmerman has only been jogging and playing catch, so any discussion of how he would fit into the Nationals' plans is moot until he starts doing more baseball-related activities. After he's able to start sprinting and swinging, Zimmerman will pick up some at-bats in instructional league, before the Nationals will have to determine where Zimmerman fits in after his activation, likely in mid-to-late September. With everyday at-bats seemingly no longer guaranteed for Zimmerman, it may be tough to justify holding onto him in single-season leagues at this point.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B/LF WAS 20 Days

Zimmerman (hamstring) had an MRI earlier this week that showed progress with his injury. As a result, he's been able to resume jogging, Dan Kolko of MASN reports.

To this point, Zimmerman has been unable to resume swinging. His return appears to be a couple of weeks away, while the Nationals will have a tricky situation to deal with upon Zimmerman's return with the addition of Asdrubal Cabrera to the infield.