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Madson (pec strain) plays catch at half effort

Reliever encouraged by first throws; Zim, Grace progressing
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- For the first time in more than a week, Nationals right-hander Ryan Madson went to the outfield to play catch, making about 25 throws at about half effort to gauge the feeling in his strained pectoral muscle. Despite the minimal effort, Madson was pleased by the way the ball jumped out of his hand.

It was his first time playing catch since he started feeling discomfort in the chest muscle on the flight back from Arizona on May 13. Although Madson pitched in three of those four wins over the D-backs and posted 3 2/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts, he does not think his usage was pushed too hard.

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WASHINGTON -- For the first time in more than a week, Nationals right-hander Ryan Madson went to the outfield to play catch, making about 25 throws at about half effort to gauge the feeling in his strained pectoral muscle. Despite the minimal effort, Madson was pleased by the way the ball jumped out of his hand.

It was his first time playing catch since he started feeling discomfort in the chest muscle on the flight back from Arizona on May 13. Although Madson pitched in three of those four wins over the D-backs and posted 3 2/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts, he does not think his usage was pushed too hard.

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"It might have been too much with that newfound stuff that I had, how sharp everything was," Madson said. "I was feeling good. so I just don't think it was ready for that much workload at that speed."

Madson, 37, worked out with his personal trainer and the team's medical staff to try and alleviate the discomfort in his chest last week while rain postponed much of the Nationals' schedule. But the issue was not improving, which finally forced him to the disabled list.

Madson does not believe he will require an extended stint on the DL, pointing to around a week or two before he feels he should be ready to return. He felt the issue was surprising, considering he did not feel any warning signs or had not felt fatigued.

But Madson's workload has been heavy during the first two months of the season, already at 21 appearances, the third most on the team.

"We're going to have to keep a really close eye on how we use him," manager Dave Martinez said. "And be a little bit more sensitive to using him in certain situations."

Injury notes
• First baseman Ryan Zimmerman took 50 swings in the cage for the first time since he landed on the DL with a strained oblique.

• Left-hander Matt Grace (groin soreness) threw a bullpen session. He said he's scheduled to throw a live batting practice session this weekend in Miami before he begins another Minor League rehab assignment.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Ryan Madson