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Nats playing waiting game with Strasburg

MLB.com Columnist @ladsonbill24

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals still don't know if Stephen Strasburg will be able to return from the disabled list and pitch against the Reds on Sunday afternoon, as the right-hander continues to deal with an upper back strain.

Strasburg was scheduled to start last Sunday against the Brewers before being placed on the DL because the back problems flared up during warmups the day before. Strasburg revealed that he popped two ribs out of place during a weight-training mishap last week, causing the back problems. He acknowledged it was hard to breathe with the ribs out of place. A chiropractor later fixed the issue.

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WASHINGTON -- The Nationals still don't know if Stephen Strasburg will be able to return from the disabled list and pitch against the Reds on Sunday afternoon, as the right-hander continues to deal with an upper back strain.

Strasburg was scheduled to start last Sunday against the Brewers before being placed on the DL because the back problems flared up during warmups the day before. Strasburg revealed that he popped two ribs out of place during a weight-training mishap last week, causing the back problems. He acknowledged it was hard to breathe with the ribs out of place. A chiropractor later fixed the issue.

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However, on Thursday, Strasburg was able to throw a bullpen session without any problems. Strasburg is eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, but the Nationals didn't make any roster moves before the game. If he is unable to go on Sunday, right-hander Lucas Giolito will likely get the start. Giolito last pitched Tuesday against the Mets, going four shutout innings in a rain-shortened outing.

"I spoke to Strasburg yesterday, and he said he said he is feeling pretty good, so we'll see," manager Dusty Baker said. "We are not going to rush him by any means. We just ask him to be honest in his evaluation of himself -- is he ready?"

Strasburg said he is taking things one day at a time, adding that he is not making the decision about pitching in Sunday's game.

"I don't make the decisions. I'm doing everything to get back," Strasburg said.

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002 and does a podcast, Newsmakers. He also could be found on Twitter @ladsonbill24.

Washington Nationals