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04/30/09 7:49 PM ET

Beimel readies for return to Nats

Reliever to begin rehab assignment on Friday

WASHINGTON -- Nationals left-hander Joe Beimel has recovered from his left hip flexor strain and will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Potomac on Friday. He will play at least two games and is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list Wednesday when the Nationals play the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Beimel knew shortly after he injured his hip flexor that it was going to be a quick recovery because the pain subsided significantly. He then went to Viera, Fla., and worked out at the team's Spring Training complex. He even had a simulated game and threw 26 pitches without any problems.

"It was my punishment for not going to Spring Training on time," Beimel jokingly said. "I had to go back to Florida and put in another week."

Once he is activated, Beimel will join Julian Tavarez and Kip Wells as part of Washington's closer-by-committee. In fact, manager Manny Acta hasn't ruled out Beimel being the primary closer, which is fine with him. Beimel has closed only three games during his eight years in the Major Leagues.

"I think it fits me pretty well. It's something I have never done on a consistent basis," Beimel said. "I'm definitely excited for the challenge. It's something I think I'll be able to do."

Beimel said he is not surprised to see the Nationals make changes to their bullpen. He saw it struggle against the Phillies on Monday. Relievers Garrett Mock and Joel Hanrahan blew a four-run lead as the Phillies won the game, 13-11, at Citizens Bank Park. It was Hanrahan's third blown save of the season.

"When you are not winning games, it's good to see that they are making some changes," Beimel said. "You can be losing games and just go with the same formula. ... . It hasn't been working. It shows that they are trying to do things differently and trying to win. As a player, that's all you can hope for from management and the front office."

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