NEW YORK -- The endurance concerns that affected Stephen Strasburg (Stras) in his return from the disabled list Wednesday won't keep him from making another start next week in Philadelphia.Strasburg threw a between-starts bullpen session Friday at Citi Field, and Nationals manager Dave Martinez said everything went as planned. While
NEW YORK -- The endurance concerns that affected Stephen Strasburg (Stras) in his return from the disabled list Wednesday won't keep him from making another start next week in Philadelphia.
Strasburg threw a between-starts bullpen session Friday at Citi Field, and Nationals manager Dave Martinez said everything went as planned. While Martinez didn't yet list a date for Strasburg to pitch, his spot in the rotation would come up Monday.
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"He said [the bullpen session] went well," Martinez said.
Strasburg's start Wednesday was his first since July 20 and just his second since June 8. He gave up five runs in four innings against the Phillies at Nationals Park, tiring by the end of his 84-pitch outing. While Strasburg was able to throw his fastball 94-96 mph in the first inning, by the fourth inning most of his fastballs were clocked at 91-92 mph.
"I think he just has to build up to that [endurance level]," Martinez said.
Martinez said the Nationals will need to watch Strasburg closely, looking at the velocity, pitch count and also whether he is able to maintain his mechanics. He said he also expects Strasburg to communicate with pitching coach Derek Lilliquist.
"As he comes in after 75 or 80 pitches, we have to ask him," Martinez said. "He'll tell you [if he's tiring]."
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Doolittle, Madson progressing
Closer Sean Doolittle (Doc), on the disabled list since July 10 with left toe inflammation, is with the Nationals at Citi Field and threw off flat ground Friday. Martinez wouldn't say when Doolittle will be able to throw off a bullpen mound or when the team might expect him back.
Reliever Ryan Madson (Blest), on the DL since Aug. 14 with lumbar nerve root irritation, was also expected to join the team in New York but isn't ready to return.
Campaigning for Max
Cy Young candidates Max Scherzer (Blue Eye) of the Nationals and Jacob deGrom of the Mets both pitched Thursday, so neither will pitch in this weekend's series. But the race for the National League Cy Young Award, which also includes Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola, was still a topic for pregame conversation Friday.
"I'm a big Max Scherzer fan, now that I see him every day," Martinez said. "He has six more starts, and I expect Max to be Max."
Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.