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Strasburg feeling good as he nears return

Strasburg feeling good as he nears return

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Strasburg feeling good as he nears return

DENVER -- Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg threw a simulated game at Coors Field Tuesday and came away feeling strong, a positive sign as he recovers from a strained muscle in his back.

Strasburg is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Sunday, and said he feels like he will be ready to make his 13th start Sunday against the Indians in Cleveland. He will toss the ball around Wednesday and plans to throw a bullpen session Friday.

"They wanted me to throw only like 56 pitches, but I didn't even really feel like I threw at all," Strasburg said. "I feel the strength has really stayed there, even though I missed a couple starts."

Strasburg lasted only two innings in his last start against the Braves May 31. Washington pushed back his next start two days, but when he could not toss a bullpen session ahead of that start, the Nationals put him on the DL.

Strasburg said he did not feel any tightness after the simulated game. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Strasburg tossed three or four innings in the simulated game.

"[The back] feels good," Strasburg said. "Threw some good pitches, spotted the fastball, do what I need to do and get a move on, throw a bullpen and hopefully be ready to go."

Before the injury, the Nationals' ace had a 2.54 ERA, but just a 3-5 record to show for it.

Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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