Stephen Strasburg plays catch, feels fine, will throw simulated game, hopes to pitch soon

Stephen Strasburg threw on Sunday for the first time since he was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 29, and everything went well.

The Washington Nationals' right-hander was scratched minutes before his scheduled start against Atlanta on July 28 and was diagnosed with inflammation in his right shoulder. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list the next day, retroactive to July 22. Sunday morning he played catch, throwing two sets of 25 pitches in right field.

Pitching coach Steve McCatty and trainer Lee Kuntz said Strasburg reported no pain. He'll play catch again in Arizona on Monday and is tentatively scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Thursday before the Nationals game with the Diamondbacks.

"We'll have him throw pretty close to maximum effort — see if there's any downfall to that. I certainly hope not," Washington manager Jim Riggleman said.

"That's when we'll know the most — when he throws to hitters — see how the hitters react to him, and see how that shoulder feels."

Strasburg is eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 6, but won't do so. Riggleman said that he didn't expect that Strasburg would need a rehabilitation assignment before being reactivated.

The Nationals have said that Strasburg won't throw more than 160 innings this season. So far, he's thrown 109 2/3 innings, but said they aren't wary of using any of those innings on a rehab assignment.

"It's not about that," Riggleman said.

Riggleman said he hopes that Strasburg will be able to pitch on Washington's next homestand, which begins on Aug. 10.

"That would be optimistic," Riggleman said. "We're certainly not going to hold ourselves or hold him to that," Riggleman said.

Strasburg is 5-2 with a 2.32 ERA in nine starts.