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Washington Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg takes another step towards a return to the Nats’ rotation...

Stephen Strasburg threw four innings on 62 pitches in a sim game in the nation’s capital on Tuesday.

St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Washington Nationals’ starter Stephen Strasburg’s sim game in the nation’s capital Tuesday afternoon went a little longer than originally planned according to manager Davey Martinez.

Strasburg, 32, has been on the 10-Day Injured List since April 18th (retroactive to April 15th) with right shoulder inflammation, but he took the next step in his progression in Nationals Park.

“He had four ups, 62 pitches,” Martinez said.

“He threw a little bit more than we anticipated, which to me is a good sign, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow and then we’ll go from there.”

The original plan, according to Martinez, was to get the Nationals’ ‘09 No. 1 overall pick up and down three times.

“We were trying to get him 3 ups, 50 pitches,” he explained. “We sat him down, he got 12-13 pitches, and he wanted to sit and go back out for a forth, so that’s great. All it tells me is that his legs are getting underneath him a little bit, he’s feeling a lot better, so like I said, he’s going to go in now and get his work done, and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Strasburg made two starts this season before he landed on the IL. He made just two starts in 2020’s 60-game campaign before an issue with carpal tunnel surgery, which required surgery, ended his 11th major league campaign.

At this point, Martinez said, the shoulder is not bothering Strasburg, so it’s just a matter of building him back up after a few weeks off.

“Right now he hasn’t complained about his shoulder, it’s just building strength, continue to build strength,” Martinez said. “Getting him back out there like in real game situations, and go from there. But like I said, he came in today, I talked to him after, he said he felt fine, and he’s going to get some work done and then we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.

“Hopefully he gets through this week and by the end of the week we’ll decide whether we want to send him out for a rehab assignment or keep him here for another sim game.”

How’s Strasburg holding up? The 2020 season was a frustrating follow-up to 2019’s World Series, and the MVP of the club’s championship run came into 2021 determined to be out on the mound helping the cause.

“He wants to get back. After being on the IL for anybody, for a long period of time, you get antsy,” Martinez said.

“Sometimes you get a little ornery because you just want to come back. But you have to put the work in. And he’s done that. He’s done everything he can possibly do to come back quick. And he’s in a good place. Like I said, today we thought he was going to three ups and 50 [pitches]. He went 4/62 so that’s a good sign.”

And the next step? Was the fourth inning on Tuesday a big deal?

“To me, that’s really big,” Martinez said. “His next time maybe we can push him to 5/70/75. So that’s a great sign.”