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Nats pave path for Stras return, option Cole

Righty likely to start Saturday in San Diego
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker would not commit to it fully Tuesday, but it appears almost certain that right-hander Stephen Strasburg will be activated from the disabled list and rejoin the team's rotation for his next start.

After Strasburg made it through his 64-pitch Minor League rehab outing Monday night with Class A Advanced Potomac unscathed -- before throwing extra pitches in the bullpen -- Baker said Strasburg's next start could possibly come for the Nats if things go well during the next few days. Moments later, the team announced it optioned Strasburg's replacement in the rotation, right-hander A.J. Cole, to the Minors and recalled catcher Pedro Severino.

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WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker would not commit to it fully Tuesday, but it appears almost certain that right-hander Stephen Strasburg will be activated from the disabled list and rejoin the team's rotation for his next start.

After Strasburg made it through his 64-pitch Minor League rehab outing Monday night with Class A Advanced Potomac unscathed -- before throwing extra pitches in the bullpen -- Baker said Strasburg's next start could possibly come for the Nats if things go well during the next few days. Moments later, the team announced it optioned Strasburg's replacement in the rotation, right-hander A.J. Cole, to the Minors and recalled catcher Pedro Severino.

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Doing so is an indication the Nationals believe Strasburg will be ready to return for his next start, which lines up for Saturday in his hometown of San Diego.

Although initially the club estimated the righty would miss one start, the nerve impingement in his right elbow has kept Strasburg on the DL since July 27. But the Nats have been careful with Strasburg because entering Tuesday, they lead the National League East by 13 1/2 games.

Worth noting

Brian Goodwin was out of the Nationals lineup Tuesday after he sustained a groin strain in the opening game of Sunday's split doubleheader. Baker is hopeful Goodwin would not require a stint on the DL, but he said the Nats will have to wait a few days before they can make that determination.

Video: MIA@WSH: Goodwin smashes a go-ahead homer to right

"You've got to wait a couple days to see the severity of it and see how much swelling is in it and stuff," Baker said. "I'm trying to avoid the DL for my guys. We've used that DL a lot."

Washington has been through its share of outfielders this season. All three of its Opening Day outfielders -- Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton and Jayson Werth -- are on the DL, and the Nats have used 12 different outfielders this season. Goodwin had filled in admirably while playing left and center field, with an .811 OPS and 13 home runs in 74 games.

Trea Turner took batting practice on the field prior to Tuesday's game against the Angels, a major step as he works his way back from the non-displaced fracture in his right wrist. Turner had not been previously cleared to hit, and he considered it his final hurdle in his recovery.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, A.J. Cole, Stephen Strasburg