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Stephen Strasburg takes first step

Stephen Strasburg played catch in the Nationals Park outfield Sunday morning, his first step in returning from the right shoulder inflammation that landed him on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his rookie season.

Strasburg made two sets of 25 throws from about 60 feet, throwing easily to a Nationals bullpen catcher as head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz looked on. His shoulder responded how the Nationals hoped it would following four days of inaction.

"If you have inflammation and you settle that down, you feel like he felt," Kuntz said. "He felt good."

After completing a regimen over the coming week while traveling with the Nationals to Arizona and Los Angeles, Strasburg could return as early as the Nationals' next homestand, which starts Aug. 10. On Tuesday, Strasburg will throw off a mound in a bullpen session. On Thursday, if all goes well, Strasburg will take his biggest test, a simulated game with batters standing at the plate.

Strasburg will throw the simulated game "pretty close to maximum effort," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "We'll see if there's any downside after that. That's when we'll know the most, is when he throws to some hitters, and see how the hitters react to him. But also, mainly, see how that shoulder feels."

Strasburg, Riggleman said, will not require a rehab start so long as his shoulder feels right after the simulated game and another bullpen session. "He would still be built up enough to continue on and pitch," Riggleman said.

While Strasburg would be on schedule to potentially return for the next homestand, that is an "optimistic" plan, Riggleman said. "We're not going to hold ourselves or hold him to that. It's all about how his shoulder responds."

The extra throwing Strasburg requires to build his shoulder back to strength is, of course, more strenuous than a typical throwing program between starts. The Nationals will count the extra throwing as "a couple innings" toward his 160-inning limit this season, Riggleman said. Between the minors and majors, Strasburg has thrown 109 2/3 innings.

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 1, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  | Tags: Stephen Strasburg  
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Next: Sorting out the Nationals 40-man roster


Anyone notice Guzy was 0-4 with 2 Ks and a missed catch error last night for Texas? Of course they are good enough to overcome that.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | August 1, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The team does seem to be playing a lot better now that Riggleman has backed off from his MI rotation created to get Guzman in games. But, two double-switches again last night and he almost ran out of pitchers ...

Posted by: periculum | August 1, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

So if Dunn and Harper don't sign. Wouldn't that give us two top ten picks, two sandwich picks.Potentially giving us 5 prospects in the top 80.

Posted by: hansenjo | August 1, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

GoNats Terps: My guess is that Guzman will end up helping the Rangers in the long run and he was still a better alternative than AK,that being said i hope AK continues his hot streak,now if we can get JWill to stop taking called third strikes and take the bat off his shoulders we can get some production from him.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 1, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

If Harper doesn't sign, the nats would get the 2nd pick in next year's draft in addition to their regular 1st round pick; if dunn doesn't sign, they would get the 1st round pick of the team that signs him (unless it's a team with a poor record and then it gets complicated) and a sandwich pick. So they could have 4 picks in the top 50 or so.

Posted by: swanni | August 1, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I also want to apologize to Adam K for being a bit personal in my comments Thursday on his coverage of the trade rumors; I wanted less Miss Iowa coverage and more trade coverage but I was too vicious in my comments.

Posted by: swanni | August 1, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

When will simulated tickets go on sale for Strasburg's simulated game? Will Dave Sheinin be doing a simulated in-game chat? And most importantly, if Strasburg simulates being scratched, I want my simulated money back!

Posted by: nunof1 | August 1, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but imagine all the simulated journalism that would surround such a simulated start ...

(No, we don't have to, do we?)

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 1, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

What good is stockpiling draft picks produced by failing to sign the guys you do draft? Any possible improvement that could result just keeps getting pushed further and further into the future.

Not to mention that a team that doesn't draft someone it signs this year is not a good bet to sign the people chosen with the additional draft picks.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | August 2, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

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