The Nationals' cadre of injured pitchers includes a former All-Star, a Cy Young runner-up, a double-digit winner and two highly-touted prospects, and while all five of them can return this season, they're at varying dates in their recovery.
I've got updates on three of those pitchers today, so here we go:
--Jordan Zimmermann threw a simulated game today at Nationals Park, pitching live BP to a group of prospects from Class A Hagerstown that included first baseman Justin Bloxom and outfielders J.R. Higley and Eury Perez. He will continue rehabbing his elbow in Viera, Fla., once the team goes on the road, and will likely start a rehab assignment in the next several weeks, general manager Mike Rizzo said. The Nationals haven't decided where Zimmermann would rehab yet, but he's still ahead of schedule, and could be back in the rotation by August.
--Scott Olsen, who has been on the disabled list since May 22, is just beginning a throwing program in Viera, Rizzo said. He didn't have a date on when Olsen would be ready to start a rehab assignment.
--Chien-Ming Wang should be back in August, after completing a throwing program and a rehab assignment for his injured shoulder. There was talk early this season that Wang would be back in May or June, but Rizzo said Wang is on schedule with what the Nationals planned. "He threw his first live batting practice today, and it was very successful," Rizzo said. "We feel he's on a good track."
The last thing to point out about the pitching rotation is a possible replacement for John Lannan; Rizzo said the usual group of possible replacements in the minors will be considered for the role. That probably means Craig Stammen and Matt Chico are the leading candidates.
"(The candidates are) the same guys that we've looked at in the past, that are performing well in the minor leagues," Rizzo said. "The deserving person will get an opportunity in the big leagues.