Strasburg throws sim game, set for rehab start

Strasburg throws sim game, set for rehab start

WASHINGTON -- Before the Nationals would be ready to clear right-hander Stephen Strasburg from the disabled list, manager Dusty Baker said about two weeks ago that Strasburg would have to test the nerve impingement in his right elbow with a simulated game. Strasburg finally completed that simulated game on the mound at Nationals Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Strasburg estimated he threw about 57 pitches in total, mixing in all of his pitches, simulating about four innings by mimicking between-inning breaks by going back into the dugout to rest. He is no longer feeling any discomfort in his arm and came away feeling encouraged.

The next step for Strasburg, he estimated, is likely a Minor League rehab game.

"Going in the right direction," he said. "There wasn't really anything to be upset about."

Strasburg drew a crowd for his simulated game. Pitching coach Mike Maddux watched from behind the mound, while general manager Mike Rizzo watched from behind the cage alongside his assistant Bob Boone and fellow starter Max Scherzer. Strasburg matched up against Jayson Werth and Andrew Stevenson.

"Stras looked good," said Werth, who didn't recall facing Strasburg in the past. "I don't know exactly what we were dealing with, but he had command of all his pitches; he looked well-rested actually. He had good life on his fastball. It was good to get a look like that. I think he's going to be fine."

Werth nearing a rehab assignment

The at-bats in the sim game were also crucial for Werth, a chance to see live pitching as he works his way back from a fractured first metatarsal in his left foot. The outfielder believes he should be on track to begin a rehab assignment in the next week or two after being sidelined since the beginning of June.

Werth has been able to participate in some baseball activities, but he has not been able to run the past few weeks. In order to remain in baseball shape, Werth has been doing a lot of biking, running on a special treadmill and swimming, and he finally started doing some light jogging around the warning track during batting practice Wednesday alongside a team trainer.

"Obviously when you're out, it's the worst place to be," Werth said. "Luckily there's some light at the end of the tunnel here. I think I'm going to get back right in time for postseason and the run in September."

Worth noting

Daniel Murphy was out of the starting lineup on Wednesday against the Marlins for the second consecutive game with a hip injury, although Baker said Murphy should be OK and he decided to hold him out another day to make sure. Murphy, who pinch-hit in the ninth inning Tuesday night, did take grounders at second base and took batting practice before the game Wednesday.

"He's the kind of player you kind of dream about; he's not going to come to you about [an injury]," Baker said. "You're going to kind of have to recognize the signs, and then when you go to him, you can sort of tell. ... Plus, we don't want it to get to the point like last year when we missed Murph for two weeks or longer almost in the month of September. So we have to try to head that off."

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.