The days of the three-lefty bullpen are over. The Washington Nationals announced this morning that Stephen Strasburg had been reinstated from the 15-Day DL as expected so he could make this afternoon's start against the Cleveland Indians in the finale of the Nats' three-game AL rules Interleague set in Progressive Field. Strasburg missed the last 12 games with what was officially diagnosed as a "right latissumis dorsi strain," which had apparently bothered the right-hander while he warmed before several starts leading up to his last outing against the Atlanta Braves back on May 31st. The 24-year-old right-hander lasted just 2.0 innings that day before the obvious discomfort he was feeling led manager Davey Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty to pull him from the game.
"[I've] been feeling it the last few starts," Strasburg told reporters after the outing in Atlanta. "And Davey and [trainer] Lee [Kuntz] thought it was a good decision to come out of the game and not let it progress any more." The Nationals' '09 no.1 overall pick hoped at the time that he would be able to return to the mound for his next start without missing any time, but on June 6th, the right-hander was placed on the DL retroactive to June 1st after he was unable to throw a schedule side session because of the lingering lat issues.
In order to make room on the roster for Strasburg's return this afternoon, the Nationals optioned left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno back to Triple-A Syracuse after two scoreless relief appearances with the Nats. The move leaves Washington with two left-handers in the bullpen, Ian Krol, who impressed again last night in the win over the Indians, and Fernando Abad. The Nationals also decided to keep veteran right-hander Ross Ohlendorf in the bullpen after he impressed in a spot start this week against Colorado.
Strasburg makes his second career start in Cleveland, Ohio's Progressive Field this afternoon. His first start came back in 2010 in his second major league outing. That start last 5.1 innings, with the then-21-year-old right-hander walking five and giving up just one run on two hits in a 9-4 win over the Indians that left him (2-0) two starts in his MLB career. Strasburg makes start no.58 of his career this afternoon...
• Here's the lineup that will take the field behind him in the finale of the three-game set with Cleveland at 1:05 pm EDT:
Today's lineup at CLE: Span CF, Rendon 2B, Zimmerman DH, LaRoche 1B, Werth RF, Desmond SS, Tracy 3B, Solano C, Bernadina LF, Strasburg P— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) June 16, 2013