"It moved from soreness to just -- I couldn't throw," said Bray via telephone from Florida. "Before that, it was just sore, and I figured it was getting-back-into-shape kind of soreness. I made adjustments to my routine, but I couldn't make them soon enough."
Neither Bray nor the Nationals has offered a specific timetable for his return. But Bray did say that he played catch from 90 feet on Wednesday and hopes to be back on a mound soon.
"It's working its way out," Bray said of the soreness. "I'm feeling much better."
Bray, who was drafted by the Expos and played for the Nationals in 2006, missed much of last season with the Reds because a groin injury that messed with his mechanics. He signed with Washington as a free agent this offseason, taking with him a 3.74 career ERA and .218 opponents' average against lefties.
He struck out six and gave up two hits in 4 1/3 scoreless innings for Harrisburg but admitted he "probably came back too fast," helping lead to the shoulder problems. He believes that the combination of pitching in games, doing extra drills to refine his mechanics and playing frequent long toss was simply more than his arm could handle.
Bray plans to dial back and make another attempt at getting back to the big leagues.
"I probably am going to have to cut back on some of the drill work I've been doing," said Bray, who turns 30 on June 5. "But I think just tweaking my routine slightly and making sure I keep up with my strengthening programs, my stretching programs and then making sure I ice after games and stuff like that, I think I'll be able to control and knock out any kind of lingering soreness."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.