The Washington Times - August 2, 2011, 07:04PM

Stephen Strasburg threw 51 pitches in a three-inning simulated game Tuesday morning in Florida and while there were no reports good or bad that made their way to Davey Johnson’s desk before Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves, all signs point to Strasburg’s next day of work coming in a minor league rehab game.

Johnson, who noted that “I’m sure if there was any blip on the radar I would be the first one to hear it,” reiterated Tuesday that while no date had been made official for Strasburg’s first rehab start with a Nationals’ minor league affiliate, chances are it will be in the August 7-10 range and he’ll throw two or three innings. The final decision will likely come in two days, after Strasburg has his throw day.

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“If everything goes according to schedule I thought he might get 2-3 innings around the 7th or the 10th,” Johnson said. “It depends on what (pitching coordinator Spin Williams is) seeing… We’ll wait until he throws on the side and see if he does something after that. I’m not looking at him and neither is (pitching coach Steve McCatty). They’ll make that determination. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of guys in on it.”

– Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who has been in Miami working with a physical therapist for the Miami Heat since Sunday, July 24, is getting closer to going on a rehab assignment, Johnson said Tuesday. Rodriguez strained his right oblique muscle in batting practice on Thursday, July 7, but told Johnson on Monday that his pain level had dropped from about a six or a seven on a scale of 1-10 down to a four. 

If that threshold fell even more after he worked out on Tuesday, Rodriguez could arrive back in the D.C. area Wednesday to begin a rehab assignment, serving as a designated hitter for one of the Nationals’ affiliates.

Throwing and catching has never bothered Rodriguez, who was able to do all of those things before shutting it down further 10 days ago. Swinging is still causing some pain, but it is decreasing.