WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg is getting close to returning.
The Washington Nationals hurler, out since June 8 with shoulder inflammation, threw 50 pitches during a simulated game Friday afternoon at Nationals Park.
"Stephen looks really good," manager Davey Martinez said. "We'll see how he feels, but he might be ready to go out on a rehab assignment possibly Tuesday. We'll see how he feels then, and maybe one more. But very encouraging."
If Strasburg were to make a rehab start Tuesday followed by one after that, it would put him on target to return from the disabled list right after the All-Star break.
Strasburg's absence has had a substantial impact on the Nationals. Prior to his injury, Washington starters ranked first in the National League with a 2.95 ERA. Since the 29-year-old righty hit the shelf, his colleagues have recorded just one win in 25 games. During that stretch, the Nats have gone 8-17 and fallen from a half-game up in the NL East to five games behind the first-place Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.
The first overall pick in the 2009 draft, Strasburg is 6-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 13 starts this season.