Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg is headed back to the injured list, a place he’s become quite familiar with in his career.
Strasburg’s last start against the St. Louis Cardinals, in which he was shelled in part due to command issues, suggested something was amiss for the former No. 1 overall pick. Yet, both Strasburg and Davey Martinez implored that nothing was wrong, minus a rough start from Washington’s No. 2 starter.
It appears to be much more than that. Strasburg is headed to the injured list yet again, retroactive to April 15.
Stephen Strasburg was placed on the injured list today because of right shoulder inflammation. Paolo Espino will start in his place. Strasburg’s IL stint is retroactive to 4/15, two days after he gave up eight earned runs in four-plus innings.
— Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) April 18, 2021
Strasburg’s mechanics were off against St. Louis, per Martinez. He’s coming off surgery, suddenly making the Nationals decision to pay him a long-term contract, rather than Anthony Rendon who took his talents to Los Angeles, a bit sketchy.
Nationals: Stephen Strasburg issues ‘part of the process’
“Mechanics were a little off [but] we talked to him, he didn’t complain about anything,” Martinez said on a Zoom call. “For us, it’s part of the process. He hasn’t pitched in a year. We gotta get him out there, gotta stretch him out, gotta build him up. But he was just a tad off today. His last outing was good, today wasn’t as sharp. So he’ll have four or five days to work with [pitching coach Jim] Hickey and get him back on track.”
There’s a chance the Nationals are merely being cautious here, but Strasburg’s injury history suggest something more could be at play. Strasburg last played a full season in 2019, in which he put up stellar numbers, including an 18-6 record, 3.32 ERA and a career-high 209 innings pitched.
Washington fans would do anything to see that version of Strasburg back on the mound in 2021.