Updated at 6:35 p.m.
Ian Desmond will take the field tonight with the Nationals, his first big-league game since a torn oblique muscle landed him on the disabled list four weeks ago. He hasn't faced any live pitching. He hasn't appeared in any minor-league rehab games. He's only taken batting practice and fielding drills.
But don't try to tell the All-Star shortstop he's not ready to return to a pennant race.
"I stuck with the routine the trainers told me to do," Desmond said. "I've been feeling good. There's no sense in dragging an extra two weeks out of it. Obviously that might have been the safe bet. But I feel good, so I'm just going to go with it."
The Nationals officially activated Desmond off the DL prior to tonight's game and inserted him right back in their lineup, batting sixth behind Adam LaRoche and ahead of Danny Espinosa.
To make room for their shortstop on the 25-man roster, the Nationals designated Cesar Izturis for assignment, ending the veteran infielder's brief stay with the organization after only 10 days.