Stephen Strasburg shaky in third minor league rehab start

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Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington has all the details on Stephen Strasburg’s latest rehab outing.

Strasburg, now 11 months removed from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, allowed four hits, two walks and five earned runs in under two innings of work Wednesday evening against the Astros’ Single-A affiliate from Lexington, Kentucky.

He struck out three and hit 97 mph with his fastball, but the 23-year-old did not look overly sharp in what can be considered his worst professional start.

Strasburg tallied four strikeouts and yielded one run in 1 2/3 innings with Single-A Hagerstown during his first minor league rehab game, back in early August. He then threw three scoreless innings for Single-A Potomac in his second rehab appearance, fanning five.

Wednesday’s outing was certainly ugly, but the Nationals’ front office is likely taking solace in the fact that Strasburg hasn’t experienced any pain or discomfort to this point in his prized right arm.

Nationals skipper Davey Johnson told reporters this week that the current plan calls for Strasburg to return to the major league mound around September 2. That blueprint, so far, remains unchanged.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.