Stephen Strasburg reached another significant milestone in his rehab from Tommy John surgery today, throwing a simulated game in Viera, Fla. Strasburg had begun throwing to hitters during live practice, but a simulated game includes Strasburg sitting between simulated innings, representing the flow of an actual game.
“He’s throwing good,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. “His velocity is good. He’s progressing. He’s mixing in all his pitches, which is good. He’s right on track where he needs to be.”
Rizzo described Strasburg as currently in “mid-spring training mode,” which means Strasburg’s reconstructed right elbow has achieved the stamina of a pitcher almost ready to make his first two-inning start of spring training. It’s like Strasburg has progressed to, say, Feb. 27 of his personal season.
Rizzo declined to specify the speed on Strasburg’s fastball, careful not to affect Strasburg’s own expectations or effort level. “His velocity is good,” Rizzo said. “I’ll keep it at that.” But the Nationals have measured Strasburg’s velocity on a few occasions with a radar gun, and one team source said he has thrown with full effort for a side session.
After the game, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said Strasburg hit 95 mph with his fastball, even though he was “a little tentative” as he threw.
The Nationals, Rizzo said, have yet to determine a schedule for Strasburg’s first minor league rehab game at an affiliate. Strasburg still needs to throw several more simulated games and several more sessions of live batting practice before he can take a real, live mound. If Strasburg continues to progress, he could pitch in the major leagues again by mid-September.