Eaton not expected to return to Nats in '17

Rizzo says recovery time is six to nine months

Eaton not expected to return to Nats in '17

WASHINGTON -- Adam Eaton underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to repair his torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee. The procedures were performed by Dr. Robin West, the Nationals' orthopedic surgeon. General manager Mike Rizzo, who had been initially hesitant to place on timetable for Eaton's return until the surgery, told reporters Eaton is expected to require six to nine months for recovery.

Eaton did not require surgery on his left ankle, which he also sprained when he suffered the knee injuries after lunging toward first base on April 28. He was at Nationals Park on Wednesday to begin his rehab, starting range-of-motion work, and he is not expected to walk or put any weight on his leg for about four weeks.

The timetable Rizzo gave is standard for an ACL tear, and a full six months would be after the end of the postseason. Following the injury, Eaton did not want to rule out a possible return in 2017, potentially for the postseason, saying that he planned to work hard during his rehab to ensure the best-case scenario. A return this season, however, would require him to beat the timetable estimates.

Kelley, Glover take step forward

Shawn Kelley was excited after throwing his simulated game prior to Wednesday's game against the Orioles, and told manager Dusty Baker he'll be ready when he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Friday.

Kelley notches the save

The right-handed reliever has continued to feel better every day since he landed on the disabled list on May 5 (retroactive to May 2) with a lower back strain, and he made it through his simulated game of approximately 20 pitches without any issues.

"I think you still want to prove it to yourself mentally and physically," Kelley said. "I knew that I was about as confident as you can be that it would go just fine."

Kelley's progress comes on the same day Koda Glover threw a scoreless inning in relief for Double-A Harrisburg as part of his Minor League rehab assignment. Glover, a right-hander, has been sidelined with a left hip impingement since April 26, but he told the Nats as he headed to Harrisburg that he would see them soon.

They were both encouraging signs for the Nationals, and Baker said both Kelley and Glover could be activated this weekend. It would be a huge boost for Washington's struggling bullpen, which, after a blown save Tuesday night, owns a 5.47 ERA, the worst in the National League. But the Nats could get both of their co-closers in the mix soon.

"We are slowly but surely getting back to normal," Baker said.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.