Sean Doolittle says he's penciled in to return from the Injured List this weekend.
"Your math is right. I'm eligible to come off (Wednesday)," Doolittle said. "I think we have a couple more boxes to check off, a couple more small hurdles to clear."
"We don't have anything really set in stone, but I think we're penciled in for some time this weekend," he said.
After their two-game series against the Orioles, the Nationals have an off-day Thursday before beginning a weekend series against the Marlins. When that wraps up, the Nats host the Mets for a pivotal division series, beginning on Memorial Day, and then travel to Atlanta for a four-game series against the NL East leaders, whom they trail by 5.5 games.
It couldn't be more important for Washington to get as many reliable arms as possible back in their pen.
Lefty reliever Roenis Elias, who's pitched just one game since being acquired by the Nationals at the trade deadline, may also be close to returning. He's been on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain retroactive to Aug. 3, and threw a bullpen session on Tuesday.
"We're getting close," Doolittle said. "These next couple days against the Orioles, I want to do some more stuff in the bullpen, in the weight room, make sure we have it right and where it needs to be. But we're getting close."