Strasburg throwing again, Hellickson ready for start at Potomac

Two weeks removed from his last start, Stephen Strasburg is throwing again, his right shoulder inflammation having cleared up enough to allow the Nationals right-hander to get back to baseball activities.

Strasburg-Throws-Red-Beard-Sidebar.jpgStrasburg has thrown off flat ground in the outfield twice this week, most recently this afternoon. It was only a light game of catch, and there are several steps left for him to take before he could return from the disabled list, but it's nonetheless an encouraging sign that his injury does not appear to be serious.

"He played catch a few days ago; this is his second time," manager Davey Martinez said. "He's progressing. We want to make sure he's 100 percent."

Strasburg last pitched June 8, when he departed after only two innings with discomfort in his shoulder. An MRI revealed no structural damage, only inflammation, but the Nationals placed Strasburg on the 10-day DL and shut him down, saying they wanted to wait until the inflammation was completely gone before putting him back out there.

Asked today if the inflammation indeed is completely gone now, Martinez said: "It's close. But he feels good enough to throw a little bit."

Martinez didn't outline a definitive plan for Strasburg's next step, but typically a pitcher would need to expand to throwing long-toss before multiple bullpen sessions and then possibly both a simulated game and a minor league rehab start.

"We'll see how he feels here in the next day or so," Martinez said. "And then we'll go from there."

Jeremy Hellickson, meanwhile, is ready for his final step in recovery from a strained hamstring. The right-hander will make a rehab start Sunday for Single-A Potomac, likely his last tune-up before rejoining the Nationals rotation.

Hellickson, who hurt himself covering first base June 3 in Atlanta, has already gone through the initial stages of his throwing program as well as fielding drills and has reported no lingering problems.

Martinez said Hellickson will be slated to throw five or six innings for Potomac, totaling up to 85 pitches. If all goes well, he appears to be on track to come off the DL next weekend in Philadelphia.

Nats thumped by Phillies 12-2 in opener, drop into...
Game 74 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to