Feb 10, 2011, 10:18 PM EDT
Stephen Strasburg has taken a crucial step in his long, slow recovery from Tommy John surgery. The Nationals right-hander recently began throwing for the first time since wincing in pain upon throwing his final pitch in Philadelphia last August, a club official confirmed.
Strasburg, who has been rehabbing all winter near his home in San Diego, has only done some light throwing so far, playing catch on flat ground from a short distance. But performing that seemingly minor task five months after undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery represents a significant milestone and puts the 22-year-old on a schedule that could see him pitching again in the major leagues in September.
Strasburg is due to report to spring training with the rest of Nationals pitchers and catchers next week, where he’ll continue to slowly build up arm strength and stamina. He won’t be permitted to throw off a bullpen mound or at full velocity for several months, but he’ll participate in conditioning and fielding drills with the rest of the pitching staff.
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