Ryan Mattheus believes he is four weeks away from returning

Right-hander Ryan Mattheus was able to throw two sets from 60 feet to test his right hand, which he broke in San Diego back on May 20. Mattheus was upbeat following the workout.

"It is a step in the right direction," Mattheus said. "To catch the last few days has been better than I thought it would be. No issues with the hand. Not really getting on it yet, but the ball feels good coming out of my hand."

Mattheus said the Nationals will now lengthen out the throwing program nice and slow and work towards the mound. If everything goes well with the hand, they will then line up a rehab assignment for him, which Mattheus says is still a "little bit down the road a bit."

He estimates it will be about four weeks before he is back on the mound in a game.

After getting the cast off his hand, Mattheus was pleasantly surprised that his arm felt strong. He credits the Nationals' support staff for helping him keep on a measured pace in the rehab process.

"Pretty good arm strength," Mattheus said. "The strength guys have kept me on a really good program. I feel like haven't lost much strength-wise. (I used) a lot of manual resistance. I couldn't hold any weights. It takes a lot of special attention from the strength guys to do a lot of manual resistance. They are holding onto my arms while we go through the motions. They are great at what they do."

Mattheus has had time to reflect on the day he slammed his hand into a locker after a frustrating outing at San Diego, and he regrets his actions. But, he has also learned a lesson from that day.

"It is probably one of the most frustrating things I have ever dealt with being a baseball player," Mattheus said. "I have been on the DL, and I have been hurt before. But that kind of stuff was uncontrollable. This was something that was self-inflicted and something that was a stupid decision. It has been tough to swallow and tough to watch. It has been tough not to be out there with the guys."

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