Washington Nationals

Nationals should shut down Stephen Strasburg after latest injury

After another injury Friday night, the Washington Nationals should shut down Stephen Strasburg.

Stephen Strasburg made his second start of the season against the Baltimore Orioles Friday night. But he only lasted 16 pitches before leaving the game, and on Saturday he was placed on the 10-day IL with “carpal tunnel neuritis”.

Strasburg didn’t make his 2020 debut until last Sunday against the Orioles, as he dealt with a nerve issue in his pitching hand and wrist. He pitched 4.1 innings and allowed five runs in a rain-suspended game. After the game he acknowledged after the game that his hand was not 100 percent. One part of his comments stands out now.

“That’s something I haven’t quite figured out how to pitch through it yet, so I think the goal is to continue to get built up and get the pitch count up to where that won’t be flaring up over the course of the start.”

Strasburg clearly suggested the hand and/or wrist were an issue in his season debut, and that he had to figure out how to “pitch through it.”

On Friday, Nationals’ manager Dave Martinez landed on the best path forward with Strasburg.

Stephen Strasburg should be shut down until further notice

“His thumb just goes numb. There’s like tingling in there. And they said it’s from his wrist,” “I’m going to do everything I can to take care of him. I don’t want to see him out there shaking his hand in pain. I think the best thing right now is to kind of shut him down and see if we can get this straightened out.”

Strasburg, the reigning World Series MVP, signed a new seven-year, $245 million deal with the Nationals this offseason. Injuries have been at the forefront of his career narrative, but this is his first trip to the IL since 2018. Last year he made all 33 of his scheduled regular season starts, leading the National League in wins (18) and innings (209). Then he went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 47 strikeouts and just four walks in 36.1 postseason innings (six starts).

The Nationals are just 7-10 on the season entering Saturday’s action. But their place in the standings or any postseason chances hasn’t dictated how they’ve handled Strasburg before, and it shouldn’t now even in a short season.

Unless this current injury goes away with simple rest, and there are no issues when he tries to ramp up, Friday night should be the last anyone sees of Strasburg on a major league mound this year.

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