Strasburg slated for rehab start Monday

Strasburg slated for rehab start Monday

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will make a Minor League rehabilitation start Monday night for Class A Advanced Potomac, the likely final step before he is ready to be activated from the disabled list.

Pitching coach Mike Maddux said Strasburg looked "really good" during his simulated game Wednesday afternoon, and now the focus is on increasing his stamina. Strasburg is scheduled to throw about five innings or approximately 75 pitches.

Initially, the Nationals hoped Strasburg would only miss one start when they placed him on the DL on July 26. However, they have the luxury to be cautious with Strasburg considering their commanding lead in the division and the need to have him healthy for the postseason. He has continued to play catch and throw bullpens while he has been on the DL. Strasburg threw all of his pitches during his simulated game without feeling any discomfort and said he felt really good about his outing.

Monday should represent the final step before Strasburg is ready to return to the Nationals rotation with ample time to build his stamina and momentum toward the end of the season and postseason.

Kelley, Taylor nearing return from rehab outings

Right-hander Shawn Kelley and outfielder Michael Taylor have been on Minor League rehab outings for about a week and while they are both nearing a return, the Nationals want to make sure they are sharp before they return.

Kelley (trapezius) has made seven appearances during his rehab stint at Triple-A Syracuse, but has given up five runs in six innings with seven strikeouts and two walks. Meanwhile, Taylor (oblique) has appeared in 11 games between Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, and he is hitting 5-for-41 (.122) with a home run and four stolen bases.

"We don't want them back to struggle because they lost a lot of time, especially in Shawn's case," manager Dusty Baker said. "They tell me he's not quite as sharp as we'd like it. And in Michael's case his timing is not where we'd like it, either. Different guys arrive with their sharpness and timing at different points, whether it's at-bats or innings pitched."

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