The Nationals optioned pitcher Matt Purke to low-Class A Hagerstown following today's game in Viera, a move that gives the left-hander a chance to continue his rehab from shoulder surgery in minor-league camp.

Purke, the organization's third-round pick in 2011, had surgery in August to clean up his shoulder and remove a couple of inflamed bursa sacs. He's currently restricted to two bullpen sessions per week, each thrown at 50 percent velocity, but he expects to ramp up his workload soon.

The Nationals plan for Purke -- who received a four-year, $4.15 million, big-league contract after he was drafted out of TCU -- to remain in Viera at extended spring training and then join the roster at Hagerstown in May or June. He'll be limited to 100 innings this season.