Strasburg set for rehab start Wednesday

Strasburg set for rehab start Wednesday

ST. PETERSBURG -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will start a rehab assignment for Double-A Harrisburg on Wednesday. He is expected to throw around 80 to 85 pitches.

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Manager Matt Williams didn't rule out Strasburg pitching in a big league game after one start in the Minor Leagues.

Strasburg has been on the disabled list since May 30 because of neck tightness. Since that time, Strasburg has spent most of his time trying to fix his mechanics and learning from pitching coach Steve McCatty.

"It's good to have the knowledge that he has to communicate with and kind of bounce ideas off of him," Strasburg said about McCatty. "He is a pretty straight shooter, and he is not going to overkill it with information."

McCatty said Strasburg has worked hard to get back on track with his mechanics.

"His bullpens were really good," McCatty said. "He had better lines. The foot was more lined up with home plate. The simulated game he had, I thought he threw the ball great. Once they play that song, we'll see what happens once he starts pitching."

Strasburg has had injuries to the ankle, back and neck and that have caused his mechanics to go out of whack. Strasburg reiterated Monday that his arm is not bothering him. His fastball has been clocked at 98 mph.

"It was a combination of underlying injuries and mechanics. It's feeling much better," Strasburg said. "Hopefully everything goes according to plan on Wednesday and I'm back here helping the team win some games.

Strasburg is off to the worst start of his career, going 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA in 10 starts this season. He admits it has been tough not to pitch in a Major League game the past two weeks.

"I just have to take a step back and cheer for the guys any way I can. Try to get back as fast as I could," Strasburg said.

In other news, right-hander Doug Fister [flexor strain] was with the team on Monday and had a bullpen session without having problems. He could pitch Thursday against the Rays.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.