WASHINGTON -- Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez will be activated from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday and start for the first time since May 17 against the Mets.
Gonzalez missed more than a month because of shoulder inflammation. The Nationals believe that, after two rehab starts and several bullpen sessions, Gonzalez is ready to take his turn on the mound against the Astros at Nationals Park.
"We were here [Monday] for his bullpen; he threw really well," manager Matt Williams said. "The ball's coming out really good. So yeah, it's going to be nice to have him back. He's been itching to get back too. … Health-wise, he's good."
Gonzalez will face the Astros for the fourth time in his career, and he hopes for similar success as he has had in the past -- he is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA against them. After missing more than a month of action, Gonzalez can't wait to get back on the mound.
"It's a step now in the right direction. You have to learn from your experiences, something like this, and learn to adjust from it," Gonzalez said. "My thing is just making sure that I can always stay healthy, keep continuing to do what I know how to do in the training room and working out, staying in a routine and not changing anything.
"But when something like [the shoulder] happens, you have to learn how to listen now more to other players and stuff like that. … It humbles you completely when you go out there and go into the Minor Leagues."
Gonzalez's return will come opposite Scott Feldman, who is coming off a bounceback outing. He went 6 1/3 innings on June 12 in Houston against Arizona and allowed three runs (two earned) and four hits. He struck out six and didn't walk a batter.
"I think it's making better pitches, hitting my spots better, just trying to keep the ball down," Feldman said.
Though he finished his latest outing without a decision, he had lost his previous two decisions before that, allowing 12 runs (nine earned) over seven innings.
"In baseball, you're going to have your ups and downs," he said. "I just try not to get too frustrated and keep working hard and hope that things will turn around. Hitters go through it all the time. It happens to pitchers, too."
Playing in a National League park, Feldman will get a rare chance to hit. He is 9-for-55 (.164) in his career with a home run, which came last year off Bronson Arroyo in Cincinnati while Feldman was with the Cubs.
"I really tried hard not to laugh running around the bases, but I didn't want to show up the pitcher," he said. "It's probably the highlight of my career, to be honest. I got back to the dugout and was pretty excited.
"I remember they [were able to get] the ball for me, and I've got it in my little man cave area at home. It's pretty funny. I don't think I really saw [the pitch]. I remember it was a curveball, and pretty much closed my eyes and swung. Luckily we were playing in Cincinnati, where the fences are 200 feet away."
Nationals: Span has long-awaited hit, adds another
Nationals center fielder Denard Span ended a hitless streak at 0-for-18 with an infield single in the first inning Tuesday night. He finished 2-for-4 during Washington's 6-5 victory over the Astros. Span has been dealing with back issues, which may explain his recent slump. But Williams said Span was feeling better.
"He's good," Williams said. "He's fine, just a little tight. But yeah, he's back in there feeling good."
Astros: Altuve gets job done
Second baseman Jose Altuve is the Astros' most consistent hitter. He had four hits on Tuesday night to raise his average to .326.
Altuve, who will face Gonzalez on Wednesday, seems to be at his best against left-handed pitching this year, hitting .413 against it.
• Although he is hitting for a low average (.234), Ian Desmond leads the Nationals in RBIs with 43.
• Astros rookie first baseman Jon Singleton has 10 RBIs in the 14 games he has played in the big leagues.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.