May 30, 2014, 6:26 PM EST
Gio Gonzalez’s return from a shoulder inflammation is ramping up, with the left-hander ready to face live hitters again.
Gonzalez threw 35 pitches off a bullpen mound on Thursday and reported no problems with his shoulder.
“It feels extremely better,” he said. “I might have been a little tick off in my mechanics. But other than that, the arm felt great.”
Next up for Gonzalez: He’ll throw 50 pitches in a simulated game Sunday morning, facing live hitters and taking a break between “innings” to mimic something close to game situations.
Assuming all goes well, Gonzalez would then make a rehab start for a minor-league affiliate five days later, perhaps the final step in his return to the Nationals rotation.
“I don’t want to give a date out yet, but be ready,” he said. “I’ll be coming soon.”
Gonzalez hasn’t pitched since May 17, when he was torched by the Mets for five runs in only three innings and then reported shoulder soreness afterward. Turns out it had been a lingering problem over the previous month, perhaps contributing to Gonzalez’s surprisingly high 4.62 ERA through nine starts this season.
He has been a fixture in the Nationals’ dugout since then, watching and agonizing as his teammates have lost six of their last seven and seen their record fall two games under .500.
“It’s one of the toughest things to do,” he said. “You want to do everything you can to go out there and help out. We’re grinding, we’re clawing, we’re scratching. We’re doing whatever it takes to try to eke out a win, but we’ve just got to be patient. We’ve got a good feeling. We’ve got great chemistry on our team. Just be patient with us. That’s all it is.”
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Giolito & Turner, Nats' farm system ranked highly by Baseball America
- Nats 2016 promo schedule includes figurine of Werth and his dog
- NL East: Mets closer permanently banned by MLB for PEDs
- Bryce Harper: 'I'm a big fan of what Kirk Cousins did this year'
- NL East: Mets' ace says he's open to contract extension
- Bryce Harper on potential for $400M contract: 'Don't sell me short'
- Why does free agent Ian Desmond still remain unsigned?
- Nationals to give out Bryce Harper Chia Pets in 2016
- 2016 Nats roster outlook: Is Gott ready for a late-innings role?
- 2016 Nats roster outlook: Shawn Kelley adds needed depth to bullpen