The Nationals held a conference call for reporters with Stephen Strasburg a few minutes ago, to update the progress of the right-hander's rehab from Tommy John surgery. Here are the highlights of the brief call:
--Strasburg said he expects to start throwing sometime in January, and will report to spring training in Viera, Fla., with the rest of the Nationals' pitchers and catchers. He's still doing physical therapy and strength work, not baseball activities, but he'll begin throwing in San Diego before heading east. He's scheduled to meet with Dr. Lewis Yocum after Christmas and plan next steps from there.
--Doctors have told the 22-year-old he's right on schedule with his rehab, though he suspects they're pulling on the reins a little. "They're not going to say I'm ahead of schedule, because they don't want to get my hopes up. Physically, I feel great," Strasburg said. "They say I'm on track. I don't have an exact timeline yet. I'm just taking it week by week and getting stronger every single day."
--In addition to physical therapy and strength exercises for his elbow, Strasburg is doing all the rehab work that a pitcher who is coming back from rotator cuff or labrum surgery would. Historically, Strasburg said, doctors have found that pitchers who have Tommy John surgery concentrate too much on their elbows, to the point of neglecting their shoulders. In some cases, a shoulder injury - which is much more detrimental to a pitcher's career than elbow surgery - isn't far behind. "I'm strengthening up everything,' he said. "When I do get a chance to go, I'll probably be in a lot better shape than I was."
--Strasburg praised the Nationals' signing of Jayson Werth, saying, "It's great to see the organization active in the offseason," and later adding, "It's going to be interesting. I'm excited to get to spring training and meet all the new guys."