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Stephen Strasburg shines in fifth minor league rehab start

Aug 27, 2011, 9:29 PM EDT

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Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg took a big step in the right direction Saturday night at Triple-A Syracuse, hurling five impressive innings of one-run ball in his fifth minor league rehab start.

Strasburg was perfect through five innings before allowing two singles to open the sixth. He was then pulled, and one of those runners later scored.

The 23-year-old fanned seven of the 17 batters he faced, hitting the upper-90s with his fastball and showing improved movement on his breaking pitches. Strasburg only made it to 64 pitches, however, so it’s a near-guarantee that he will be asked to make at least one more rehab appearance.

The current plan — albeit tentative — calls for him to return to the major leagues around September 6.

Strasburg registered a 2.91 ERA and 92/17 K/BB ratio over 68 innings last season as a rookie before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He underwent Tommy John surgery on September 3 , 2010.

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