Every weekday morning, Stephen Strasburg plays catch with Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz. As
the spring has moved along, Kuntz has moved back in increments of 15 feet when Strasburg’s arm can handle it and when his rehab schedule calls for it. At this point, it is still an honest game of catch. At some point, it won’t be.
“There will be a time when he’s got a bag of balls,” Kuntz said, “and I just catch.”
Strasburg has thrown up 90 feet with Kuntz, his latest step in the recovery from Tommy John surgery. His arm still “feels really good,” Strasburg said. He can see progress in new ways now, time and work having changed his perspective.
“At first, when we stretched it out a little bit, it looked far away,” Strasburg said. “Now, it looks pretty normal. It looks 90 feet, like it used to.
“My arm strength is starting to slowly come back. Your muscles sort of shut down when you’re taking five months, not really anything.
“When you throw a baseball, you don’t feel your ligament moving around in there in any way,” Strasburg added. “The only thing that’s different is you have to go through a process of breaking up scar tissue. That’s the biggest thing right now, is getting the flexibility back, the range of motion. Just slowly putting more stress on it, which is why you go slowly out, farther and father.”
>>> Kuntz also provided an update on Chien-Ming Wang. Stop us if you’ve this before: Wang is slowly making progress and the Nationals will continue to use caution in his recovery. Kuntz said Wang has not suffered a setback “by any means,” but Wang felt tightness in his shoulder during a minor league game and now he is only throwing bullpen sessions, so the no-setback stance seems a matter of semantics.
“He’s making progress,” Kuntz said. “We haven’t shut him down or taken anything away from him. We’re just being very cautious about how we proceed, especially when we get it up to game speed. … You can see progress there.”