Nats targeting Wednesday for Stras' return

Nats targeting Wednesday for Stras' return

NEW YORK -- The end of Stephen Strasburg's latest stint on the disabled list appears to be near. Strasburg threw bullpen sessions every other day this week and came away feeling well after each of them, including one that sent Gio Gonzalez into manager Dusty Baker's office raving about his teammate's progress.

Strasburg, who is out with soreness in his right elbow, is eligible to be activated from the DL on Monday. The Nationals currently list their starter for Wednesday's game against the Braves as TBA, and appear to be lining up Strasburg to make that start.

"Possibly. But again, we want to see how he came out of today," Baker said. "So we'll see. That would be big and good news for us."

Pitching coach Mike Maddux called Strasburg's bullpen session on Sunday a "normal bullpen" that a pitcher would throw three days before a start. Strasburg has only been sidelined since Aug. 22 and has been throwing almost regularly since, so the Nationals have felt comfortable that he would not need a Minor League rehab start.

Right-hander A.J. Cole has filled in adequately in Strasburg's absence, with a 3.86 ERA in three starts, with 17 strikeouts and seven walks.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.