MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Belisle throws first bullpen session

Belisle throws first bullpen session

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Matt Belisle, who is on the disabled list because of a right calf strain, threw a bullpen session for the first time on Saturday. Belisle said he feels great but the next steps are up to the team.

Manager Dusty Baker indicated that Belisle will likely go out on a rehab assignment and pitch in back-to-back games in the Minor Leagues soon. Baker doesn't know how many bullpen sessions Belisle needs before he starts his rehab stint.

"He has been working hard, which doesn't surprise anybody," Baker said. "He is in great shape. We had to slow him down a little bit because he is such a go-getter."

Belisle hurt his calf while pitching in the eighth inning against the Phillies on April 27. The injury occurred after Belisle delivered a pitch to David Lough, who lined out to first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Belisle was forced to leave the game after that. It appeared Belisle wanted to stay in the game, but Baker took him out in favor of Felipe Rivero, because Belisle could not run to cover first base.

"We built up a lot of strength," Belisle said. "Hopefully, I can get a [simulated game] in, and we'll see what happens."

In other news
• The Nats recalled outfielder Matt den Dekker from Triple-A Syracuse as the 26th man for Saturday's doubleheader against the Marlins.

The Nationals went with den Dekker because the Marlins don't have any lefties in their bullpen, which means the left-handed-swinging den Dekker will likely be a pinch-hitter in the late innings. It also helped that the bullpen wasn't taxed the last few games, so there wasn't a need to add another reliever to the roster.

"We feel den Dekker deserves [the promotion]," Baker said. "We need him. He will probably play one of these games here."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.