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08/22/08 8:18 PM ET

Burton pain-free in simulated game

Injured Reds reliever could begin rehab assignment next week

DENVER -- The reliever was relieved about his progress.

Injured Reds right-hander Jared Burton threw 30 pitches Friday in a simulated session at Coors Field against Adam Rosales and Jolbert Cabrera. Burton, currently on the disabled list, has been out of action since July 10 because of a strained right latissimus muscle in his side.

"All in all, it was a good day," Burton said. "I was excited last night going to sleep, knowing I was going to get to do that today. It was a big day for me, mentally and physically, to take that step."

Following a setback earlier this month, Burton resumed throwing last week and gradually increased the intensity.

Although he limited himself to throwing only fastballs and changeups, Friday was the hardest he's pushed himself.

"I was letting it go a little bit," Burton said. "Mike Stefanski, the bullpen catcher, caught me and said the ball had good life on it. It's just a matter of when I dial it up to get that command back. I didn't hit anybody."

Most importantly, there were no complaints of pain.

Veteran David Weathers has been solid since taking over the eighth inning after Burton went down, but the bullpen would certainly like him back. He is 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA in 43 games with 17 walks and 50 strikeouts.

Burton is slated to pitch in another simulated game on Tuesday in Houston. If all goes well, he could begin a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Thursday.

"It's just a matter of getting that limberness and arm speed back. Everything was good," Burton said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.