Stephen Strasburg was scratched late before his last start with irritation/tightness in his right forearm, but the 25-year-old right-hander was expected to return tomorrow to face the Miami Marlins in the first game of four with the Fish in Washington, D.C. When Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo appeared on MASN last Friday, Rizzo told the Johnny Holliday and Ray Knight that Strasburg would be back soon.
"Stras had some stiffness in his forearm when he was playing catch yesterday," the general manager said. "We sent him to the doctor. He got a full exam and an MRI. And nothing structural is wrong. Looks like it's just some inflammation. He's taking some medication for it and hopefully next time his start rolls around, he should be able to post."
Johnson told reporters he expected Strasburg to pitch again on the 19th from the start, after announcing last week's scratch, but after tonight's loss to the Atlanta Braves in the finale of the season series with the NL East leaders, Johnson said that he had decided to push Strasburg back again to the third game with the Marlins on Saturday.
"I scratched him for tomorrow," Johnson said. "He just had a little bit of -- he felt a little something there, but he wanted to pitch tomorrow. And I said, 'Well. No way. I've got guys on full rest, and I'll pitch them and you'll line up for Saturday.' So it was my decision. But he didn't get loose when he was throwing. He felt it was hard to get loose and so when I heard that, I told him, 'Pitch Saturday.''
"He tried to talk me out of it," the Nats' skipper explained, "and I said, 'No. Play catch a couple more days and I don't want to take any more chances with you.'" Johnson said Strasburg hadn't had any issues or felt anything before the pitcher threw today. "They came and they tested him and everything and he was fine. Wanted to go. But in my book, I don't want to have anything bothering you the day before you pitch."
Stephen Strasburg: "I don't really know why it's happening. When it happens it happens. It's like a strong cramp."— Amanda Comak (@acomak) September 19, 2013
"It will be fine," Johnson said when asked if he was confident Strasburg would make that start. "Because he will be playing catch and running and doing stuff and he had a great bullpen. It's just not worth the risk. I mean, he wanted to go tomorrow. I said, 'No.' End of story."
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