Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams watched Strasburg throw a 30-pitch bullpen session a couple days ago, and “I was quite amazed that he was throwing that well,” Williams said. “He commanded well. His mechanics were clean. I was extremely happy.”
Strasburg threw at “full effort” during the session, Williams said. “Not that anyone throws 100 percent during a sideline. But he got after it pretty good.”
Last year, Jordan Zimmermann made his first minor league start on July 4, less than 10 ½ months from the time of his surgery. Rehab timetables differ from pitcher to pitcher, so consider this context only. Strasburg’s surgery was performed Sept. 3 last year, so it’s feasible he’ll make a minor league start by mid-August. Getting ahead of ourselves a little, that could make it possible for Strasburg to come back in mid-September.
“We’re looking at dates and stuff,” Williams said. “He’s still got a long ways to go. He still has to throw live BP. When a batter steps in, his adrenaline is going up a tick. We’re just taking it really day by day with him. We’re just going to continue, day by day. I’m really, really happy with what I’ve seen.”
Today, Williams was on his way to Syracuse to watch left-handed reliever J.C. Romero, whom the Nationals recently signed to a minor-league contract. The Nationals have yet to decide when Romero will be able to join their major league roster. Romero has thrown three innings at Class AAA Syracuse, including a perfect two-inning stint Sunday.
Williams is flying to Syracuse in order to watch Romero pitch again tomorrow. The Nationals then want to see how Romero responds to pitching back-to-back days. Romero last pitched in the majors June 15, which is why the Nationals need to give him time to re-acclimate.
“Even if you’re throwing a lot, it’s different when you get into a game,” Williams said. “I think the bottom line is, we’re going to continue to run him out there and see where he’s at.”