Nats’ Strasburg returns from DL, slated to start against Braves

Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg was activated from the disabled list Tuesday.

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Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was activated from the disabled list to start Tuesday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves.

The 26-year-old right-hander missed 21 games due to neck tightness.

"One, he feels good. Two, he’s able to throw where he wants to with some conviction. That’s what I’d like to see tonight," Washington manager Matt Williams said.

Strasburg was 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA in 10 starts prior to going on the disabled list on May 30 and failed to complete four innings in four of his last five starts.

"I think it’s important for him to have fastball down," Williams said. "Not necessarily pinpoint control on the corners, but down in the zone. Then everything else works well for him."

Strasburg made a rehab start for Double-A Harrisburg on June 17, allowing two runs — one earned — in five innings.

Williams said Strasburg will be on a 95-100 pitch count against the Braves. Strasburg is 4-7 with a 4.24 ERA in 17 career starts versus Atlanta.

The Braves were without first baseman Freddie Freeman, who was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a bruised right wrist.

Washington optioned right-hander Joe Ross to Triple-A Syracuse. The 22-year-old went 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA in three starts during his first time in the major leagues, striking out 23 and walking two in 20 1-3 innings.