Nationals right-handed reliever Ryan Mattheus, currently on the disabled list following a bout of shoulder soreness, threw a 20- to 25-pitch simluted game in the bullpen before tonight’s game and could be activated early next week.

“He threw the ball fine,” said Manager Davey Johnson. “His velocity still is not quite where it was before he got hurt.”

Mattheus, 27, said he will throw once more on Monday and if all goes well should be activated after that. Mattheus is 2-2 with a 2.49 ERA as a rookie this season, his first since returning from elbow ligament-replacement surgery in 2009.

He said the Nationals told him not to push himself too hard to get back this season, but that he still felt an urgency.

“If they were considering me for a spot next year, I felt I had to prove to them I was healthy,” Mattheus said.