Nationals

Rizzo: Schwarber is 'doing things he needs to do to return'

Nationals

Washington Nationals outfielder Kyle Schwarber was on one of the hottest tears in recent memory before he strained his hamstring on July 2, forcing him on a trip to the 10-day Injured List.

Following the game, manager Davey Martinez called the injury "significant" and that he would miss considerable time. However, on Wednesday, general manager Mike Rizzo sounded optimistic that the left fielder would return to the lineup soon.

"I haven't spoken to him on a timeline just yet. He's moving around much, much better," Rizzo said on the Sports Junkies.

Schwarber took on-field batting practice ahead of Washington's win on Tuesday night against the Marlins and his power was still on full display.

"He took batting practice on the field [on Tuesday] and was hitting balls in the upper deck," Rizzo said. "He's taking batting practice, he's doing things he needs to do to return to play. So that's a good sign."

Before the injury, Schwarber had mashed 16 home runs in his last 18 games on his way to NL Player of the Month honors. His power surge also earned him a nod to his first All-Star team, yet the injury prevented him from playing in the Midsummer Classic.

Rizzo also gave an update on starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who has been sidelined since June 1 when he was forced to leave a start against the Braves in the second inning with a neck strain.

 

Strasburg threw a bullpen a few days ago and long-tossed up to 300 feet on Tuesday, per Rizzo, and said he felt fine following both sessions. The Nationals general manager said that once Strasburg does feel comfortable to pitch again, he'll have to go through a simulated game and perhaps multiple rehab starts in the minors before returning to the rotation.

"We're going to take that step by step," Rizzo said.