Strasburg plays catch

Stephen Strasburg played catch this morning, making two sets of 25 tosses. Pitching coach Steve McCatty said Strasburg threw from about 90 feet, and felt fine afterward.

“In my mind, he’s fine,” McCatty said. “He’ll play catch again tomorrow, and then a little side. I think he’s fine. He felt free and easy, felt good. It’s just catch. I know who it is, so it makes it a lot bigger, but it’s just catch.”

Strasburg will throw a simulated game on Thursday, pitching “pretty close to maximum effort,” manager Jim Riggleman said.

“That’s when we’ll know the most, is when he throws to some hitters, and see how the hitters react to him,” Riggleman said.

But Riggleman said Strasburg returning for the Nationals’ homestand next week would be optimistic.

“We’re certainly not going to hold ourselves or hold him to that,” Riggleman said. “It’s really just going to be all about how he’s responding.”

The Nationals also took Jordan Zimmermann off the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse. Zimmermann began a 30-day rehab assignment on July 3, so he had to move somewhere. But the Nationals could be a week or two from bringing the right-hander, who’s been out all season with Tommy John surgery, back to the majors.