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Posted at 1:35 PM ET, 02/10/2011

Stephen Strasburg has started throwing

By Adam Kilgore

stras.jpg

As he prepares to join his Nationals teammates this weekend at spring training, Stephen Strasburg has reached a significant milestone in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. For the first time since he felt a pop in his right elbow on Aug. 21, when he threw a 1-1 changeup to Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown, Strasburg is throwing again.

"He told me that he tossed a ball, that he was really excited," Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty said today in a phone interview. "I just kind of laughed. He was so excited to be able to toss a ball. I'm not sure what the process is, because it can vary. But I know he tossed a ball. It was a very short distance. He was very happy."

Strasburg made the short tosses in Southern California, where he is rehabbing from ligament-replacement surgery, which he underwent Sept. 3. Making his first light throws now, a week before spring training, means Strasburg remains on schedule on his 12- to 18-month road back to the majors.

Throwing, at last, is a small, significant part of a process that will last all season for Strasburg. In spring, while the rest of the Nationals' pitching staff rifles the ball during exhibition games and bullpen sessions, Strasburg will play soft catch. Jordan Zimmermann undertook the same challenge last, and McCatty often had to force him to back down, to not throw as hard.

"I'm sure I'll have to do the same thing with" Strasburg, McCatty said.

While recovery time varies from pitcher to pitcher, Zimmermann's experience sheds some light on when Strasburg may make his next major league appearance. The Nationals treated Zimmermann with extreme caution, and he made his first post-surgery appearance in the majors Aug. 26 last year, about 12 ½ months following his August 2009 surgery. Since Strasburg underwent his surgery Sept. 3, he could feasibly return in the middle of September, at the very end of this season.

All of that, for now, remains strictly hypothetical. Strasburg will first have to get through spring training, by the end of which he could be pitching off a mound. Next comes months of lonely, hot rehab in Florida. Then a series of minor league rehab starts -- Zimmermann last year made 10.

The road back will be filled with small, important signposts, like throwing again for the first time. Tossing a ball was once rote for Strasburg, like driving or brushing your teeth. Now, it represented a meaningful moment for him. "It sure is," McCatty said.

By Adam Kilgore  | February 10, 2011; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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Next: Nationals want a competitive spring training for starters

Comments

Extra cautious ... and mind that left-handed arm of Gorzelanny!

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Take your time Stras. We fans will patiently await your return.

Posted by: jerod1 | February 10, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Take it easy, I'm looking forward to your return, but no rush.....

Posted by: jmccas | February 10, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The headline should read:

"Stephen Strasburg has started counting down the days until he's a free agent"


That'd be more accurate.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 10, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

AK - Good stuff. Thanks for the update!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 10, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

>>The headline should read:
"Stephen Strasburg has started counting down the days until he's a free agent"

Laughter thru tears.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The headline should read "Stephen Strasburg counting down the days til he can find poopy McPoop in the stands and Lash Larue him"

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 10, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The headline should read:

"Stephen Strasburg has started counting down the days until he's a free agent"

That'd be more accurate.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 10, 2011 2:14 PM |

Poor MCPOOP, can't resist relieving him/herself in every punchbowl. Let's wait until SS does something worthy of blowing town over before we count the days with him.

Posted by: Natmeister | February 10, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about that previous comment. Clearly I don't understand the concept that a headline should be brief.

Congrats to Stephen and the Nats organization. I can't wait to see him pitch in a packed Nats stadium. I can't even remember the last time O's fans were excited about any aspect of their team.

Posted by: P00PY__MCP00P | February 10, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Nice headline and I can see why a Whorioles fan would be upset as they only added players to 1 year contracts to look like they care and fool the fans further or at least keep them from adopting their team to the South.

My prediction is BRYCE HARPER will be the top jersey seller in the league in 3 years.

Then where I am from it will be another fun season where they did nothing in the off-season.

Posted by: PensRule | February 10, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@P00PY
Wow, that was weird. You almost sounded sincere. Of course there was veracity in your last statement.

Posted by: Intrudr | February 10, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

>>Re: Dunn, Is the 23rd and 34th pick in a pitching rich draft "nothing"?

Uh Yea, Exactly. When did Soriano leave? What exactly did we get for him? Have any of those draft-pick guys (who were much higher picks) ever played a whole season yet or ever posted a winning record? Just wondering.

>>We don't *know* what he could or could not have got in late July for Dunn.

Not true. Know for a fact we were offered Jackson plus more, which is way better than those 2 picks and better than nothing.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

BTW word is that Jerry Sloan is stepping down. If that's the case, Wiz should fire Flipper immediately and hire Sloan. He's a coaching GOD!

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

So since the picks for Soriano didn''t work out, the picks for Dunn can't work out.
Makes sense.
The draft is just a waste of time unless you have the number 1 pick.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 10, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Why would you want future unproven picks over an established young (27 year old)major league pitcher, who even threw a no-hitter last season. Seriously. It's no contest.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

One of the Soriano picks was Josh Smoker. However, the other was Jordan Zimmermann.

Posted by: terps67 | February 10, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

You can get Soriano back as the Cubs would trade him for a box of balls to get rid of his $16 miilion a year deal.

You Nats fans should be lucky Soriano didn't stay + Jordan Zimmermann was good swag in return!

Posted by: PensRule | February 10, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Shoulder is next. Remember he hurtthat before the"pop" and he hurt it in college as well. Stronger forearm, but weakend shoulder. If they take their eye off the ball, that'll blow June of 2012. I want ot be wrong, but I'm a little worn down.

Only way to fix my fanometer is to fill the farm system with arms. More arms means less depseration on the back of one lone star.

Posted by: DCSec112 | February 10, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

DCSec - couple weeks ago, they talked about how Stras's rehab was very focused on his shoulder, especially the backside (rear deltoids) as these do often suffer strain upon a return to pitching.
You might be right, but at least Stras and his trainers aren't ignorant about the issue.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 10, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

>>We don't *know* what he could or could not have got in late July for Dunn.

Not true. Know for a fact we were offered Jackson plus more, which is way better than those 2 picks and better than nothing.

Posted by: dovelevine
-------------------------------------------

There are only two people who would know this for a fact - Mike Rizzo and Kenny Williams. Which one told you? Or was it just the voices in your head?

Posted by: FeelWood | February 10, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine, your argument about Soriano loses all credibility when you don't know Zimm is here because we let him walk; right now you wouldn't trade them even up for each other. True Zimm hasn't done much but show flashes of brilliance but Soriano showed how quick a player you can't live without can turn into an anchor for a franchise. Who knows what we get in the draft for Dunn, and they might be years away if they help at all, but LaRoche and a high draft pick for Dunn isn't a bad trade at all and DUnn's contract, on a NL team, might look awfully bad in 2 years.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 10, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@P00PY Wow, that was weird. You almost sounded sincere. Of course there was veracity in your last statement.

Posted by: Intrudr | February 10, 2011 2:53 PM
-------

Maybe you didn't notice the extra underscore in my impostors sincere" post. That's okay, it seems like you're one of the rubes he's targeting.

Gotta love love periclulululuum talking about the O's and 1 year deals when they only did that for 2 of their free-agents (Vlad and Lee). Gregg, Hardy, Reynolds are all locked up longer than that, thus showing just how little periculdududm knows about baseball.

Not that anyone is confusing the Natinals or their fans for being too baseball savy.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 10, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

>>Soriano

Wow. Where to begin. Soriano would have fetched a big booty bounty. You can do the research to see all the players that were offered but Bowden wanted more. It has nothing to do with what Soriano turned into. It's what you could have gotten for him in real MLB ready players at the time. What you got was Smoker and JZimm in the draft. As far as I know neither has done anything so far--all these years later.

Same with Dunn. You don't wanna sign him-- No problem. Take the booty that is being offered. It's been well documented here and in Chicago what was being offered. It's no secret. And what was being offered were real MLB players including a nice 27-year old pitcher named Jackson, who would have fit nicely into the front of the Nats rotation.
Instead you've got more hit or miss future draft picks that are years away from being MLB ready.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

It's no secret. And what was being offered were real MLB players including a nice 27-year old pitcher named Jackson, who would have fit nicely into the front of the Nats rotation.
----
Really? How about citing exactly what it was, since you claim inside knowledge?

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Edwin Jackson, he of the 4.62 career ERA and the 2010 ERA of 4.47 and 2010 WHIP of 1.50. You're referring to that Edwin Jackson as a front of the rotation guy?

Any trade would have been a 2 month rental of Adam Dunn. No one is offering a front line starter for 2 months of Adam Dunn.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 10, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Dovelevine should stick to the WNBA because he doesn't get it no matter how much u try to explain it to him.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 10, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

>>Edwin Jackson, he of the 4.62 career ERA and the 2010 ERA of 4.47 and 2010 WHIP of 1.50. You're referring to that Edwin Jackson as a front of the rotation guy?

For the Nats--Yes. You got some1 better on the Nats. Who are the Nats front of the rotation guys now that are so much better. I'd take jackson anyday over a couple of never gonna make it draft picks.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

In other news, since Kilgore was the only one to report this Stras-news it appears he is being linked by many sports outlets.

Good job AK!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 10, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

BTW, while we wait for dovelevine to provide some actual facts to back up his claims, let's begin the process of tracking Edwin Jackson's season, since he was the surefire star that Rizzo turned down for Dunn. You know, the guy with the career losing record and a 4.62 ERA?

So, what does Bill James, a real expert, project for Jackson in 2011? A 9-13 record, with a 4.54 ERA, and a 1.47 WHIP. His projection for Livan Hernandez this year? 10-15 with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Jason Marquis? 5-7, 4.46, and a 1.44 WHIP.

Now, some seamheads think Jackson will be better than that and it's only a projection. But it might be time to back off a little on that hero worship of Edwin Jackson.

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

>>Really? How about citing exactly what it was, since you claim inside knowledge?

Hardly inside info.
"Boswell has since learned from "sources", as he wrote in an October 7th "Ask Boswell" chat that the Nats' G.M., " that the D.C. GM, "...wanted to trade Dunn and had a deal worked out for Edwin Jackson, who ended up with the White Sox
"So, yes, the rumors at the time were correct. However, Kasten and the Lerners didn't want to do the deal and killed it. Partly bad PR. In Kasten's case, he really believed, and still does, that it's crazy not to resign Dunn."

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

BTW, if you're curious, go to fangraphs and look at the projections. James projects Gorzelanny to be better than Marquis and Livan (and Jackson): 7-8, 4.06, 1.42 WHIP.

He's got John Lannan at 8-11, 4.40, 1.43 WHIP. As for Jordan Zimmermann: 8-7, 3.75, 1.27 ERA.
James actually believes Wang will pitch and pitch well this year: 9-7, 3.99, 1.34 WHIP.

So, if you trust Bill James over a bunch of schmoes blogging on a website, he believes the Nats have three starters better than Jackson and three others just as good as him.

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Nice try, dove. But Boz didn't say what you said: "It's no secret. And what was being offered were real MLB players including a nice 27-year old pitcher named Jackson, who would have fit nicely into the front of the Nats rotation." So who were the other MLB players besides Jackson in the deal?

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

BTW, again, no one's worshipping EJ. But personally I'd rather have a 27 year old starting MLB pitcher, who has thrown a no-hitter in the Bigs, for Dunn, than nothing.
Pretty simple.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

>>So, if you trust Bill James over a bunch of schmoes blogging on a website, he believes the Nats have three starters better than Jackson and three others just as good as him.

Good then you certainly wouldn't mind having EJ join them rather than nothing. BTW, as far as Wang goes, love James but I'm not sure even Wang's parents believe that.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

But personally I'd rather have a 27 year old starting MLB pitcher, who has thrown a no-hitter in the Bigs, for Dunn, than nothing.
Pretty simple.

----
Which is why you'd make a terrible GM. Trading one of the five best HR hitters in baseball for a starting pitcher with more promise than results after eight years in the big leagues is a really bad trade.

But more importantly, are you now admitting that you didn't "know for a fact we were offered Jackson plus more?" Because you won't name those other players, will you?

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

DuhLevine, dude, it isn't nothing in return for Dunn, it is the 24th pick and a 2 nd rounder. We can revisit this Dunn compensation in a few years!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 10, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Yah let's get that guy Bud Smith, he threw a no-hitter for the Cardinals a few years ago and that guy Armando Gallaraga threw that unPerfect Game.

How could Detroit trade that Gallaraga guy for a prospect. Imagine that!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 10, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

The Nats got both Soriano and Dunn for relatively cheap prices. Both exceeded expectations and were highly sought by a number of teams at the trading deadline. In both cases the Nats did not trade either player and wound up having the players walk and were compensated by draft picks. Normally you would want to trade the player at his highest value. That's basic stock market law. Buy low, sell high.
The Nats had the chance to do that twice and opted not to. Not sure that was wise. Instead they got draft picks which may or may not pan out. We'll have to wait and see.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 10, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Just to add, I think the Nats struck gold twice with Soriano and Dunn but both times missed a wonderful opportunity to parlay that into a greater good.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 10, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Are we seriously pining away for the lost opportunity that was...Edwin Jackson? Really? Because another mediocre starter with no upside is exactly what the Nats needed.

Not saying that they shouldn't have traded Dunn. But if Edwin was the best they could get for him, they're better off with draft picks.

Posted by: js_edit | February 10, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

>>Which is why you'd make a terrible GM. Trading one of the five best HR hitters in baseball for a starting pitcher with more promise than results after eight years in the big leagues is a really bad trade

Interesting. Guess you think Rizzo is a really bad GM since he authored that trade before being vetoed by Kasten and Lerner.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, stacked against Boswell's reporting is that after the season Kenny Williams denied that there ever was a Dunn-for-Jackson deal on the table. A lot of people on the internet "know" a lot of fascinating things. Some of them may even be true, but I wouldn't bet on the batting average being all that high.

Letting Dunn go has netted the Nationals the #19 and #34 the first supplemental pick immediately after the first round ends) picks in the 2011 draft, which is widely regarded to be one of the deepest in years. Rizzo has confidence that he didn't get an offer that was worth more than that (and Rizzo gambled there and hit paydirt - if Dunn had signed with a losing team that also signed a higher rated Type A FA, the compensation would have been MUCH less).

Rizzo had a tough call to make, and he made it. No GM is right all the team, but their average is higher than the average web site poster. Rizzo knows his job depends on steadily improving the team. If he's wrong he gets fired. If he's right ... well, he probably still gets fired, that's the way baseball is. But he gets fired a lot later :)

Posted by: JCCfromDC | February 10, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

It looks like Francisco Liriano has become available...any thoughts as to what it would take to land him? Personally..I'd much rather see Liriano than I would have liked Garza or Grienke.

Anyone care to speculate?

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | February 10, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

The trade requested was Jackson along with 2nd baseman Gordon Beckham and the Chisox wouldn't do that deal.

And since when is NOTHING a 1st round and 2nd round draft picks.

Dove if that is NOTHING you need to find a blog for novices to comment on because you sound like an IDIOT.

Posted by: PensRule | February 10, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Naugatuck - Liriano struggled at the end of the season. He has looked great and he has looked terrible at times and many see him as an inconsistent middle of the rotation guy.

With Petitte retired expect the Yankees to go all in for him.

Posted by: PensRule | February 10, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

>>And since when is NOTHING a 1st round and 2nd round draft picks

Bottom 1st round/2nd round. And be sure to drop me a line in say 5 years when maybe one of the those guys makes it to Triple A.
Gimmie a break.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 10, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Liriano is a stud, and I agree. Much rather have him than Garza or Grienke. But I don't know how a trade would work with the Nats and Twins.

The Nats most obvious trade chip is a surplus of good, young catchers...always a valuable commodity, but not something the Twins really need.

With Hairston on the 40-man, Desmond or Espy could be expendable, and either would be an upgrade over Alexi Casilla. Maybe one of them plus a prospect or two?

Posted by: js_edit | February 10, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

FWI, Naugatuck, FanGraphs also felt he'd be a prime target for the Yankees and that he'd bring similar value as Marcum did. The Blue Jays got Brett Lawrie, who's apparently considered a top 40 prospect. Not sure what the Nats would have to offer that the Twins would want.

BTW, continuing my obsession with Bill James' projections for 2011, he has Liriano performing almost identically to Jordan Zimmermann: 13-8, 3.69, 1.30 WHIP for Liriano compared to 8-7, 3.75, 1.27 WHIP for Zimmermann (fewer innings for Zimmermann because of a tight pitch count).

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Skins-fan. - And that's why they have the Draft. Plenty of All Stars in latter rounds including a guy named PUJOLS. You aren't too bright.

Posted by: PensRule | February 10, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Bottom 1st round/2nd round. And be sure to drop me a line in say 5 years when maybe one of the those guys makes it to Triple A.
Gimmie a break.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 10, 2011 6:55 PM
==============================

Yep skins_fan_22, you aren't too bright, I only need to look at this past years NL MVP Joey Votto who was a 2nd round pick in 2002 and in that same draft was the NL MVP in the All Star and 64th pick in the 2nd round Brian McCann to know that there are plenty of stars that aren't picked in the Top 20 of the 1st round.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 10, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Yea and Tom Brady was a what-- 6th round pick?
Keep plugging your hopes on those. Like I said, drop me a line when they get to AAA.
BTW so far in our picks for walkaways, 1 guy hasn't made it up yet and one guy has had Tommy John.
And that's about it.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 10, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I had no trouble they didn't get Jackson, but I sure would have liked to get Hudson. And they could have.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | February 10, 2011 8:31 PM | Report abuse

PensRule - Sure he struggled late, but remember he was coming back from TJ surgery. I expect him to be back to top form this year. ...as, I'm sure, so do the Yankees, Boston, etc... It'll definitely be pricey and I'm not sure what Rizzo would be willing to deal (if anything. I just love to imagine a 2012 rotation with Strasburg, Zimmermann and Liriano.

JS - we just picked up a top catching prospect (W. Ramos) from the Twins...so I doubt we'll be sending one back. I'm not sure we have what it takes, or are willing to part with, to get this done...I just like to dream.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | February 10, 2011 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Boswell makes stuff up. Everyone knows that.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 10, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

nunof1 - TRUE THAT

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 10, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

There are only two people who would know this for a fact - Mike Rizzo and Kenny Williams.

You don't think they would have told their owners? Team presidents? Assistants? Secretaries? Wives? Scouts? Friends? Reporters? How do you know who are the only people who know this information? How could anybody know that only two people have a piece of information? What if their phones were tapped? Are you God?

Posted by: markfromark | February 11, 2011 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Course, even of Rizzo and Williams had told him, they could be lying. Even if they let him sit in the meeting, it could be a ruse. Maybe they're not even the ones who make the decision. I don't think anyone posting on this board should assume that any fact is established with sufficient certainty.

Posted by: markfromark | February 11, 2011 12:52 AM | Report abuse

"BTW so far in our picks for walkaways, 1 guy hasn't made it up yet and one guy has had Tommy John.
And that's about it."

@skins_fan_22, stick with Skins prognosticating. Its kind of where you belong. Beast, beast, give me a beast ... and when lots of "beasts" show up whoops they lose.

One guy made it up and his name is Jordan Zimmermann. Apparently, Rizzo is the one who pushed for selecting him. Another guy he picked because Bowden couldn't sign his first selection the previous year is Drew Storen.

I think Roy Clark (the guy who was instrumental in the Jason Heyward draft for Atlanta) is the right guy to pick those compensatory and sandwich round picks ... he wasn't here when JimBo was selecting guys like Detwiler, Smoker, McGreary, and Burgess ...

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2011 1:57 AM | Report abuse

the sorry ass blO's.....LMFAO at Mark Reynolds....will he hit over .200 this season? MR is the poor mans version of RZIMM...and thats even a stretch. Hardy = mediocre at best. I'd take Desmond who's better and younger. Derrek Lee? He'll be injured by mid-May...atleast they got a closer to close out all those Losses. Vlad will be good trade bait though if he's not broght down by all the other blO's and has a bad season or injured, whats he 37yrs old now? 65 wins max for the blO's. MacFail deserves a raise. Jim Palmer is probably being begged to un-retire and suit up. What a bunch of frauds.

Posted by: Redskins2Win | February 11, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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