Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg took a major step in his rehab from a right flexor mass strain on Friday afternoon by throwing a bullpen session, the first time he's thrown off a mound since going down with the injury in a start on Sept. 7.
Strasburg is not available for the team's NL Division Series against the Dodgers, but this signals at least some hope he can return before the postseason is over, if they are to advance.
The Nationals right-hander has been working his way back slowly by throwing off flat ground in recent weeks after an MRI administered on Sept. 8 revealed his injury. He left a start against the Atlanta Braves in the third inning after feeling a pinch in the back of his elbow.
The Nationals were then able to determine that the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, the one repaired through his 2010 Tommy John surgery, was fine.
Strasburg, 28, is 15-4 with a 3.60 ERA this season.
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The Nationals visited several Washington D.C.-area little league baseball teams on Saturday before their afternoon game against the Padres.
The Nats’ Youth Baseball Uniform Program enables the team to get involved in their community. In addition to visiting local youth teams, the Nationals give all each player a jersey, a hat and the opportunity to come to a game at Nats Park.
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The goal of the program is to “breakdown and minimize financial barriers that can prevent kids from playing baseball.”
Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Max Scherzer were among the 10 Nats who went on the community visits.
Harper at one point encouraged kids not to settle for losing, saying “as much as they might tell you it’s okay you lost - no.”
Giving back to the community has always been important for the Washington Nationals, and all the players - from little leaguers to major leaguers - seem to enjoy it.
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Bryce Harper had been in a little bit of a slump heading into Friday's game against the Padres, but in the seventh inning, he got back to what he does best.
With a full count and a runner aboard, Harper launched an absolute bomb that landed in the third deck down the right field line at Nationals Park. That means a new seat will be painted red where the ball landed.
Check out the blast for yourself:
It was the 15th homer of the year for Harper, which leads the National League.
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