VIERA, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg’s rehab from Tommy John surgery continues along its monotonous pace; the right-hander is playing catch from 90 feet now, adding 15 feet to his long-toss sessions in periodic increments.
But his progress, as far as the Nationals can tell, is right on schedule; his arm strength is coming back, long tosses are getting less daunting and he’s slowly feeling more like he used to with a baseball in his hand.
“The only thing that’s different is, you do have to go through a process of breaking up scar tissue in there,” Strasburg said. “I think that’s the biggest thing right now - getting the flexibility back with it, the range of motion, and slowly putting a little more stress on it.”
The meat of Strasburg’s rehab will come after the Nationals leave town; he’ll be left in the Florida heat, eventually throwing bullpen sessions and pitching simulated games to minor leaguers. Many pitchers who have gone through through Tommy John rehab have singled out the solitude as the worst part of the process. But if everything goes well, Strasburg - who had Tommy John surgery last Sept. 3 - could be back in the majors this September.
And, in the process, he’s helping Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz - his throwing partner - get stronger.
“We’re kind of doing the same rehab together,” Strasburg said. “Hopefully he’ll be on the mound at the same time, too.”
Added Kuntz: “There will come a time where he’s got a bag of balls, and I just catch.”