VIERA, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg can't tell you what comes next month in his Tommy John rehab, once the rest of his Nationals teammates head north to start the regular season. He can barely tell you what happens next week, beyond some educated guesses based on what he's been doing so far.
The team's doctors would prefer Strasburg doesn't have too much information. If a long view of his road back from surgery would get his hopes up, the Nationals don't want him to think that way. Mostly, they'd prefer Strasburg's rehab to be as robotic as possible.
"We have a schedule in place," Strasburg said, sounding like more like a military operative than a major league pitcher. "All I do is go out there and execute the mission, basically."
There's a reason Strasburg's rehab schedule is on such a need-to-know basis. It's probably the most publicized recovery a pitcher has ever made from Tommy John surgery, and there are plenty of hopes riding on the pitcher's prized right elbow. He's throwing from more than 45 feet, but he's either not sure exactly how far he's throwing or isn't willing to say.
The Nationals want him making some easy tosses, working out and worrying little about the future. If a lack of details helps him accomplish that, he's fine with it.
"We're not going to have all these high expectations and have it not happen," Strasburg said. "The body has a natural healing process. You can't rush that. We're just letting it take its course."