- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stephen Strasburg is on the verge of beginning a minor league rehab assignment, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Wednesday.

Strasburg will follow his simulated game from Tuesday morning with a side session on Thursday, and if it goes well, Johnson said he will pitch one or two innings in his first rehab start at Hagerstown this Sunday. After that outing, Johnson said Strasburg will pitch on Aug. 12th, 17th and probably the 22nd. Sunday’s game in Hagerstown begins at 4:05 p.m.

Depending on his progress, the starter could reach the big leagues by early September. A rehab assignment for a pitcher can last a maximum of 30 days, so the Nationals will have to make a decision on Strasburg just after Labor Day. Asked whether he will take Jordan Zimmermann’s spot in the rotation when Zimmermann hits his 160-inning limit, Johnson said that it would be nice, but the two pitchers are “different animals” who each have their own time frame.

Meanwhile, catcher Ivan Rodriguez wasn’t at 100 percent after hitting on Tuesday. He will get some at-bats over the weekend and will possibly rejoin the team on its next homestand later this month.

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