The next step in Stephen Strasburg's recovery from Tommy John surgery, throwing off a mound, may not be far off, according to reports in the Washington Post.
According to the article, Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty said the right-hander feels great.
"I know he's bored," McCatty said. "I know he's probably going nuts. But he's sticking with it."
The first overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft after dominating in college at San Diego State, Strasburg was a phenomenon last season. He was electrifying in his 12 starts, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA, fanning 92 batters in 68 innings.
But his season came to an abrupt halt during his Aug. 21 start at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, when he felt discomfort in his elbow with one out in the fifth inning.
He left the game and had Tommy John surgery two weeks later in Inglewood, Calif., performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum.
Recovery from the procedure is typically 12-18 months, and Strasburg is not expected to pitch until 2012, but the Post has speculated that he might return late in 2011.
One thing is for certain, the Nationals are not going to rush him back.
"When he's ready, he's ready," said McCatty. "If it's 12 months or a little longer or a little shorter, we just can't sit here and say, 'Bang, here's the milestone, now the clock is ticking.' It doesn't work that way. He's feeling fine. He's getting close. Everything is going well. You got to take your time. You can't rush it. And he says he feels great."
Jonathan Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.