Stephen Strasburg is likely to begin a rehab assignment with one of the Nationals' minor-league affiliates early next week, marking the right-hander's first appearance in a competitive game since he underwent Tommy John surgery less than one year ago.
Though team officials haven't finalized a schedule yet, manager Davey Johnson suggested Strasburg "might get a start between the 7th and the 10th of August."
The 23-year-old has remained at the club's spring training complex in Viera, Fla., since Opening Day, gradually building up arm strength. He threw a three-inning "simulated game" Thursday, totaling 50 pitches and showing no ill-effects from the major elbow surgery performed on him last Sept. 3. He's expected to throw one more simulated game Tuesday before heading north.
Strasburg dropped a hint himself Sunday night on his Twitter account, posting: "Started the packing process gettin close to kissing Florida goodbye!"
From that point on, it will be up to the Nationals to map out a schedule that allows Strasburg to pitch every fifth or sixth day at their various