- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Stephen Strasburg was on a mound in the middle of a baseball diamond Wednesday. That’s progress.

He has moved from throwing bullpen sessions to Wednesday’s “simulated game” in Nationals Park that took place around 3 p.m. Strasburg threw 57 pitches, using his entire repertoire. Nationals pitching coach Mike Maddux said the simulated game that lasted four innings went “very well.” Strasburg backed that statement by saying he “feels really good.” Next, assuming Strasburg feels well Thursday, will be a bullpen session Friday followed by a minor-league rehabilitation assignment Monday, according to Maddux.

Strasburg has been on the 10-day disabled list since July 27, retroactive to July 24, because of a right elbow impingement. He has missed three starts during his rehabilitation process. The Nationals initially thought Strasburg would only miss one.

Jayson Werth was among those who faced Strasburg on Wednesday. Werth had never been in the batter’s box before against the Nationals’ right-hander. When Strasburg was injured Aug. 21, 2010, leading to Tommy John surgery, he was pitching against the Philadelphia Phillies. Werth played for the Phillies then, but was not in the lineup that day.

Werth making his way to the batter’s box Wednesday was also progress for him. He faced Strasburg then participated in live batting practice two hours later. He has been on the disabled list since June 5 because of a left foot contusion after fouling a ball off his foot, damaging his big toe. Werth said Wednesday that he expects to begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment “within a week or two.”

He has not run in the last nine weeks. In order to stay in shape, Werth has worked on a zero-gravity treadmill and often swam.

“Probably going to take some time to get the legs in shape and get up to speed,” Werth said. “Been taking a lot of at-bats and swinging. The last few times I’ve done this [gone on the disabled list], it’s been a wrist. Can take time to get your swing back. Hopefully, that won’t take too much time. Get in shape pretty quick and get back here. It’s nice to be on a club that has nice lead.”

The Nationals came into Wednesday with a 13-game lead in the National League East.

Werth and Strasburg were not alone in their quest to regain health. Trea Turner (right wrist fracture) worked out again Wednesday. Outfielder Michael A. Taylor (right oblique strain) has progress to the Double-A Harrisburg. Daniel Murphy (hip) was out of the lineup for the second consecutive night. He pinch-hit Tuesday and took batting practice, ground balls and ran sprints Wednesday. Howie Kendrick (back spasm) was back in the lineup after missing Tuesday’s game.

Even manager Dusty Baker had to deal with a recent injury when his leg locked up on him. He was examined by the medical staff and felt better Wednesday, claiming to have healed himself over night “like The Terminator.”

“I’m not running or got my pimp walk now,” Baker said. “I got my limp walk now.”

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