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07/10/11 1:10 PM ET

Hairston eyeing July 18 return to Nats' lineup

WASHINGTON -- Jerry Hairston Jr. is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list during the All-Star break, but the Nationals' utility player is targeting a July 18 return in the series opener in Houston.

Hairston, who broke his wrist when he was hit by a Dan Haren pitch June 29, took dry swings for the first time Sunday after fielding ground balls and throwing from shortstop Saturday.

He plans to hit off of a tee and take batting practice Wednesday, have a full workout Thursday, then play the first of two or three rehab games Friday.

"Throwing the ball is not really an issue or problem," Hairston said. "Swinging a bat, being in the fire and trying to swing it 100 mph, that's going to be the biggest test. I'll know more after I play in a couple games."

Hairston will tape his wrist and cover it with a pad -- something he is still getting used to -- but will not wear anything obtrusive or uncomfortable. The biggest obstacle to overcome will be generating power in his swing.

"It's a difficult injury because we do everything with our hands -- hitting, throwing and fielding," Hairston said. "I have to be careful with it, but when I'm back, I'll be back.

"I don't want to go just out there and play, I want to be productive. We're at a point in the second half of the season where we feel like we have a legit chance, and I don't want to harm us in any way. When I come back, I definitely want to be productive."

Clippard flying to All-Star Game with Tulowitzki

WASHINGTON -- After Sunday's series finale, Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard will board a plane for his first All-Star Game with Rockies' two-time All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who invited Clippard to travel with him to Phoenix.

"That's the cool thing about this game," Clippard said. "When you're in it for a while, that's the type of thing you can do for younger guys. Right now, I'm still that young guy, but hopefully at some point I can be on the other side of it."

Fourteen-time All-Star selection Ivan Rodriguez talked to Clippard about what to expect, and the right-hander is most looking forward to meeting his teammates.

"I've always enjoyed meeting the other guys around the league," said Clippard, who will be joined by his parents and brother in the desert. "Obviously the All-Star Game brings in another level -- a lot of future Hall of Famers, a lot of guys that have hit home runs off of me. It's going to be cool to meet guys like that."

But only three of Clippard's National League teammates -- Andrew McCutchen, Gaby Sanchez and Rickie Weeks -- took him deep. He faced 19 of his teammates and held them to a .183 batting average in 71 at-bats, striking out 18 and allowing 10 RBIs.

He is equally successful against the American League squad, limiting the nine players he faced to a 3-for-17 performance. Adrian Beltre is the only one to homer against him.

"Some of those American League hitters aren't very fun to face," Clippard said. "Hopefully I get to face a couple, but it's going to be fun."

Worth noting

Washington right-hander Cole Kimball's surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder is scheduled for Wednesday in New York with Dr. David Altchek. The rookie will rejoin the Nationals in Washington after the surgery, then rehab in Viera, Fla., once he is out of a sling.

Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.