MILWAUKEE -- Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon, who is on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain, had no problems in his first bullpen session, which he threw before Saturday's game against the Brewers.
Papelbon threw 40 pitches on Saturday, and he will start a rehab assignment Monday with Class A Potomac. First, however, he had to tell general manager Mike Rizzo how he felt.
"The ball was flying everywhere," Papelbon said "I felt really good and that's the only thing that really matters. I'm starting to feel better as it goes on. I made some really good pitches and some really bad ones, which I expected. I pushed myself to see how far I could take it. I'm pretty exhausted now."
Papelbon hurt his rib cage warming up before he entered the game against the Phillies on June 12 at Nationals Park. In that game, Papelbon allowed a solo homer to Maikel Franco in the ninth inning. Once Papelbon entered the dugout after that half-inning, Baker didn't like the way Papelbon was stretching his body.
The next day, Papelbon couldn't straighten out his body. Baker used Shawn Kelley in a save situation against the Cubs.
Before going on the disabled list, Papelbon had 16 saves and a 3.28 ERA.
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.