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Posted at 06:39 PM ET, 05/23/2012

Brad Lidge ahead of schedule in throwing program

(Jonathan Daniel - GETTY IMAGES)
Brad Lidge could return to a Nationals’ bullpen in need of reinforcements sooner than expected. This afternoon, Lidge threw his first bullpen session since undergoing sports hernia surgery May 1. He will report to Viera, Fla., tomorrow to continue his rehab, and his schedule could put him on pace to return to the majors by June 12.

Today, Lidge threw about 20 pitches, all fastballs, off the mound. Lidge also visited the doctor who performed his surgery while in Philadelphia, and he told Lidge he could push the affected area unless he feels something. So far, he hasn’t.

“I’ve been pretty pleased with how fast my arm strength has come back,” Lidge said. “I was able to kind of do some real easy stuff, just keep my arm loose. Taking two weeks off, it can be pretty tough. But, really, we have to do a few things to keep it loose. It’s come back real fast.”

Lidge will make four minor league rehab appearances, including back-to-back games at least once, before he comes back to the Nationals. He has been on the disabled list since April 28.

Closer Drew Storen, meantime, continued his rehab in Florida. He will throw on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. His timetable remains the same, with a return expected roughly around the all-star break.

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By  |  06:39 PM ET, 05/23/2012

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