Stephen Strasburg gave up a run in the first inning of his fourth rehab start Monday, but settled down to strike out six in three innings. He went into the game with a 65-pitch pitch limit and ended up throwing 60 pitches, 40 for strikes for Class A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League.
In his three innings, he gave up two hits, two runs -- one earned -- walked one and hit a batter.
"I think he's right on schedule," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington. "I think he looks terrific."
If he is kept on his every-five-days rotation, he would pitch again on Saturday. The Nationals have preferred to keep him pitching at their own affiliates' home ballparks, but the franchise's only minor league squad at home that day is the Triple-A team in Syracuse. He has yet to pitch above high Class A in his rehab. He could make two more minor-league starts before returning to the Nationals' rotation on either Sept. 6 of 7.
Zuckerman asked Strasburg if he felt like he was ready to pitch in Washington in two weeks -- "Absolutely," Strasburg replied. "Sixty pitches is a piece of cake, but I wish I did it in four or five innings."
Strasburg needed 27 pitches to get out of the first, walking a batter in addition to the hit-by-pitch, as well as allowing an RBI single. He did strike out two and threw 16 strikes in the first frame. However, he rebounded in the second, needing just 12 pitches to retire the side in order with two strikeouts and a flyout.
According to Zuckerman (via Twitter), Strasburg's fastball sat at 96-97 mph and reached 98.
Strasburg cruised through his first two rehab starts before allowing three hits and five earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings last week for Hagerstown.
"It has nothing to do with what the results are," Rizzo said (again, from CSNWashington). "I just wanted to see the arm free and easy, which I did. The ball coming out of hand well. And some action on the pitches. And everything was a plus tonight. He walked off the mound after 60 pitches, and if he feels good and tomorrow he's feeling good, then it was a successful night and we move onto the next."