Strasburg cleared to start Sunday in Cleveland

Strasburg cleared to start Sunday in Cleveland

DENVER -- Stephen Strasburg completed the next critical step toward his highly-anticipated return from the disabled list, tossing a bullpen session at Coors Field on Thursday morning.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said head trainer Lee Kuntz cleared him to pitch Sunday against the Indians in Cleveland.

"I mean, he's never satisfied. He didn't have the pinpoint control that he expects out there," Johnson said of Strasburg. "I think he attributes it more to the light air. Steve's always a perfectionist."

The first positive step in Strasburg's recovery came after the flame-throwing righty threw three-to-four innings in a simulated game in Denver on Tuesday. A muscle strain in Strasburg's lower back put him on the DL June 5, five days after the injury forced him out after just two innings against the Braves.

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