WASHINGTON -- With a crucial series against the Phillies beginning next week, the Nationals have aligned their rotation for their three best starting pitchers to be on the mound for that series, including Stephen Strasburg, who will return from the disabled list on Wednesday.
Strasburg's return will be sandwiched around Tanner Roark, who will start Tuesday night, and Max Scherzer, who will take the ball Thursday. It will be Strasburg's first start in the Majors since July 20, after he landed on the DL with a pinched nerve in his neck.
"Credit to Stras that he got himself ready to pitch for us, and got the opportunity to go up against a team we're trying to catch," manager Dave Martinez said. "He's been working diligently to get ready and he feels good. It's nice to go into that series with our three best pitchers."
Strasburg threw a simulated game on Wednesday in St. Louis, extending himself to about 70 pitches in a little more than four innings. After passing that test and throwing a bullpen on Saturday, the Nats determined he will not need a Minor League rehab assignment in order to build stamina.
Martinez did not commit to any pitch count restrictions for Strasburg on Wednesday, even though he has only made one start -- on July 20 against the Braves -- since he first landed on the DL on June 10. A shoulder injury and the neck injury have limited Strasburg to just 14 starts this season, in which he has posted a 3.90 ERA.
"We'll see how the game goes," Martinez said. "See where he's at with high leverage situations and stuff like that. If he's up there in pitches we got to be careful, but he feels good and he says he's ready.
• Martinez said he was hopeful Kelvin Herrera would be healthy enough to be activated from the DL during the three-game series with the Phillies starting Tuesday.
• Sean Doolittle felt "OK, not great, but OK" after testing his foot during a bullpen session last week. He had been altering his mechanics to be able to throw, but the Nats will want the stress reaction in his left foot to be completely healed before he returns to the mound.