Papelbon throws simulated game; Nationals sign Latos

WASHINGTON (AP) Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon threw a simulated game Wednesday and is headed to Double-A Harrisburg for a rehab assignment.

Pabelbon said he threw around 30 pitches before Washington hosted the New York Mets. The reliever is on the 15-day disabled list, sidelined since June 13 with a right intercostal strain.

''It felt strong,'' he said. ''It feels real good. It felt normal. It felt like my mechanics were there. For the most part it felt really good.''

Papelbon is 1-2 with a 3.28 ERA and 16 saves in 25 appearances. The next step for him involves pitching on consecutive days for Harrisburg, beginning Friday.

''I feel like I'm ready, feel like I could go out there tomorrow and pitch. I think right now it's time to be more cautious than anything,'' Pabelbon said. ''Make sure I can go back-to-back and do the things I'm going to be expected to do when I get here.''

In other news, Nationals manager Dusty Baker confirmed the team has signed veteran starter Mat Latos to a minor league contract.

The 28-year-old Latos, who pitched for Baker in Cincinnati, was designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox on June 9 with a 6-2 record and 4.62 ERA. He won each of his first four starts, allowing a combined two runs, before fading rapidly over his next seven.

Latos gave up six runs over 4 1/3 innings in his last appearance for the White Sox on June 7. He is expected to join Triple-A Syracuse.

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