WASHINGTON -- Hours before the Nationals hosted the Mets for Sunday night's series finale, Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy was on the field at Nationals Park, making more progress toward a return from microfracture knee surgery.
Murphy took batting practice, fielded grounders at second base and practiced turning double plays. The next step for Murphy will be running the bases at full speed to test his right knee during the next week before the Nats make any decisions about him going on a potential rehab assignment.
"We want to see him really run the bases, go first to third, score on a base hit, things like that," manager Dave Martinez said. "Then, after that, we'll determine where he's at. I watched him work out today and he's coming along really well. He's progressing really well, so hopefully we get him back fairly quickly. But we want to make sure that he's totally ready."
Murphy just began running on the field earlier this week for the first time since his surgery after spending most of his time on the treadmill. Initially, he started just focusing on his strides and not pushing his legs too hard, but lately he has been moving around more freely, especially while fielding his position.
Washington has been consistent that it will not rush Murphy back even though the lineup could use his return. Murphy has been able to take batting practice for a while now, so he might not need many at-bats once he can start a Minor League rehab assignment, but Martinez was not sure how long one could potentially be.
"The way his swing is, I don't necessarily think he needs that much of that," Martinez said. "It's just getting him on his feet, playing games, because it's a lot different. Just getting him out there and getting him to play five, six innings to get going and go from there."
Wieters resumes hitting
Matt Wieters has been encouraged by the progress he has made since landing on the disabled list Monday with a mild left oblique strain. After being shut down for a few days, he started swinging a bat again this weekend, moving from hitting off a tee to hitting soft toss and taking batting practice in the cage.
He is aiming to take batting practice with the team on the field on Monday and is still optimistic he will be ready to return when his 10 days on the disabled list are complete on Wednesday.
Hellickson to make one more start
Martinez received positive reports from right-hander Jeremy Hellickson's latest start at extended Spring Training, where he tossed six innings and 69 pitches. Martinez said Hellickson will receive at least one more start in Florida before the team makes any decisions about what is next for him.