HOUSTON — Stephen Strasburg reached a big milestone in his recovery from Tommy John surgery last week when he began to throw live batting practice. He took that one step further Monday when he threw a simulated game in Viera, Fla.
“He’s throwing good,” said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. “His velocity is good. He’s progressing. He’s mixing in all his pitches, which is good. He’s right on track where he needs to be.”
The Nationals have been clocking some of Strasburg’s pitches to get an idea of where the right-hander is at velocity-wise, but Rizzo was hesitant to share those readings. The Nationals are very careful about divulging radar gun readings for players on rehab — so as to avoid players pitching to the radar gun and overthrowing.
UPDATE: Nationals manager Davey Johnson said the reports he got from Strasburg’s simulated game was that he was throwing between 92-95 mph and that he was “a little tentative,” meaning that there’s more he can unleash as far as velocity goes. That’s a very good sign for him and his surgically-repaired right elbow.
Rizzo described Strasburg as being in “mid-spring training mode.” The difference in what he did Monday and the live BP he threw last week was that he sat down for a period of time that would constitute the other half of the inning, thereby simulating a game situation. There’s also no cage around home plate.
They are not at a point where they can put a date on when Strasburg might escape Viera and head to a rehab assignment in the minor leagues. He’ll need to complete several more simulated games and several more live BP sessions with no issues before they can progress to that point, Rizzo said.