WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg threw another uneventful bullpen session Wednesday, then picked up a bat and took batting practice for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last September.
Strasburg will throw 70 to 80 pitches in his fifth rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Syracuse, where the pitcher hits at National League-affiliated parks. Each of Strasburg's first four starts came at Class A Hagerstown or Potomac, where there is a designated hitter.
Strasburg took five swings with the pitchers and drove a few balls to the outfield gaps.
"Nobody's been letting him hit, but he's going to have to hit in Syracuse and he's going to have to hit here," said manager Davey Johnson. "He's on heavy restrictions, and I just lifted one. I imagine if he can throw a 99-mph fastball, he can swing a bat."
Johnson said Strasburg will make a couple more rehab starts and will not rejoin the Nationals before Sept. 6.