The Washington Times - July 16, 2013, 07:24PM

NEW YORK — While Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Tuesday he had “not heard anything negative,” about the rehab progress of Ross Detwiler, he was unsure if the left-hander would be ready to return to the Nationals’ rotation as hoped on July 23.

Detwiler, who has been out with a low back strain since July 4, began throwing on Saturday, roughly a week after receiving an anti-inflammatory shot to help ease his pain in the area. 

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Johnson had been hopeful that Detwiler would be able to throw in a minor league rehab game, or a simulated game, on Thursday when the Nationals will workout at Nationals Park. But he was unsure on Tuesday if Detwiler would be ready to do that.

“It depends on what he does and where he’s at on Thursday,” Johnson said. “I don’t think (he’ll pitch in a rehab game). He’s not quite ready to be in a game, so it may not be (that he returns) right away.”

— Right-hander Ryan Mattheus’ return may be getting closer, though. Mattheus continued his rehab assignment on Tuesday night with Double-A Harrisburg after allowing one run off one hit in an inning with Single-A Hagerstown on Sunday. Johnson estimated that Mattheus would need about three or four rehab appearances. Tuesday’s was his second.

– Jordan Zimmermann said his lingering neck pain felt about the same on Tuesday. He could be dealing with a pinched nerve or a slightly bulging disc, but the Nationals still do not expect it to hinder him or for him to miss a start with the issue. 

Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz, a trainer for the National League All-Star team, has been able to continue monitoring Zimmermann this week and said it’s been “beneficial” for him to continue to treat Zimmermann over the break. 

“Jordan told me he woke up in the middle of the night,” Johnson joked. “His neck was a little tight because he thought he just pitched two innings and I took him out.”