DENVER — Stephen Strasburg had a bullpen session at Coors Field on Thursday morning and the Washington Nationals’ right-hander, who has been out since May 31 with a Grade 1 strain of his right lat muscle, was cleared to start Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.
Strasburg, who was pulled after his second inning of work against the Atlanta Braves two weeks ago, appeared to be past the issue when he threw a simulated game on Tuesday afternoon. But the bullpen session was expected to be the final test.
With that in his rearview, the Nationals plan for him to come off the disabled list on Sunday and start against the Indians that day.
“He’s never satisfied,” manager Davey Johnson said with a chuckle when asked how Strasburg’s bullpen session went.
“He didn’t have the pinpoint control that he expects out there. I think he attributed it more to the light air (in Denver) and everything. Stephen is always a perfectionist — but the trainer gave him an okay to pitch on Sunday.”
That was the important part for the Nationals, who’ll have their starting five back together for the first time since mid-May when Strasburg returns on Sunday.
Ross Detwiler, who had been out with a right oblique strain, returned to start Thursday’s game. Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Strasburg will start in Cleveland, with Dan Haren and Detwiler pitching the first two games against the Phillies next week.
“It gives me a little more comfort feeling,” Johnson said of getting his rotation back. “Nathan Karns pitched pretty good for a youngster but you can’t hardly replace a Detwiler or a Strasburg.”
Xavier Cedeno will be the most likely player to be optioned to Triple-A and removed from the active roster when Strasburg is ready to return on Sunday.