Injured pitchers Strasburg, Fister making progress

Injured pitchers Strasburg, Fister making progress

NEW YORK -- The Nationals are getting closer to having their full stable of starters, manager Matt Williams said Tuesday. But their two recovering right-handers are still a little way from returning.

Stephen Strasburg, who's started three of the past four Opening Days for the Nationals, was placed on the disabled list May 30, citing a tight muscle in his neck. He felt pain in the second inning of a May 29 start against the Reds and hasn't pitched since.

Strasburg threw a bullpen session Tuesday to positive results, Williams said. The club expects to ramp his activity up in the coming days, having him throw live batting-practice sessions before making a rehab start.

"He felt good coming out of it," Williams said. "If he feels good in the next couple of days, we can move to a live BP-type of situation for his progression."

Even with the short layoff, Williams said he expects Strasburg to require a rehab start.

"It's important for him to get out there with competition," Williams said. "I think he's right on track. I think he's on track to come back and feel good about it."

Williams also said Doug Fister is on track. The right-hander made a rehab start Sunday, pitching 3 2/3 innings. He'll make another start Friday before the Nationals make a decision on his status.

"It's a matter of him making sure that he can get six, seven innings at least," Williams said.

Fister has been on the DL since May 15 with tightness in his right forearm.

Alden Woods is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.