Strasburg's Rehab Hits Minor Bump

Strasburg was hit hard in Hagerstown.

On Wednesday afternoon, Nationals manager Davey Johnson was half-speculating when Stephen Strasburg might return to the majors and half-pining for the day he'll see the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft get back on the Nationals Park mound.

Strasburg got a reminder on Wednesday night, though, that his road back from Tommy John surgery probably isn't going to be as flawless as it has seemed so far.

The right-hander gave up five runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings in his third rehab start. Pitching at Class A Hagerstown (Md.), Strasburg allowed a walk, a single and two doubles before retiring a batter. His fastball was in the high 90s once again, but Strasburg's control wasn't as sharp as it has been in his first two rehab starts.

He could return to the majors early next month after finishing his rehab assignment; Johnson thought Strasburg could come back on Sept. 2 against the Mets with an extra day's rest and join the rotation as Jordan Zimmermann hits his innings limit for the year.

It seems just as likely, though, that Strasburg will make one final minor league start that weekend before returning on Sept. 6 or Sept. 7. After his outing on Wednesday, that didn't look like a terrible idea.

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