After 27-year-old Washington Nationals' starter Stephen Strasburg left an August 30th start against the Miami Marlins in the nation's capital following just four innings of work and sixty pitches, he talked to reporters about an upper back issue that had previously been a problem acting up again and causing discomfort.
Now-former Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters afterwards it was clear that something was bothering the right-hander, whose fastball velocity was down from 97 mph average in his previous start to 94.1 mph that day.
"I think he was battling out there," Williams said. "I think he had some discomfort in his upper back, so a little bit of a recurrence of the [issue from] earlier in the year. So, velocity came down a little bit today, so we got him out of there. Certainly had more pitching to do, but last thing we want to do is change mechanics. We can't go there."
"Just a little bit of back tightness," Strasburg explained after the abbreviated outing.
"It's just something that I kind of dealt with in the middle of year. It's got just some sort of little ball that's kind of in the back there that can't really figure out what it is."
"Sometimes it gets upset, and tried to battle through it and offense came through today and picked me up."
Strasburg said he had felt a little discomfort in the area in his previous turn in the rotation.
"I felt it a little bit after the last start, but with normal treatment and stuff it went away," he explained.
"It's something that's really hard to explain, you know, it's not really like a muscular thing, it's just like this little ball that's there and it kind of just affects everything around it.
"So, the biggest thing right now is just to get it calmed down the next couple of days and hopefully make the next start."
He said at the time that he didn't think he would necessarily end up on the DL for what would have been his third stint of the season on the Disabled List.
"Last time it kind of crept up, it was literally, we got the treatment and within one to two days it felt normal," Strasburg explained, "so I think it's just something that I'm going to have to just grind through and get through the year and figure out exactly what it is in the offseason."
Though no one is making a direct connection to the quotes above thus far, Strasburg might have gotten an answer as to what exactly it was causing the problem.
According to what his agent, Scott Boras, told reporters today, including Washington Post writer James Wagner and FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi, the '09 no.1 overall pick had a medical procedure to remove a growth from his back recently:
Scott Boras said Stephen Strasburg had a non-cancerous growth surgically removed from his back about one month ago.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 11, 2015
Boras said growth was "muscular" in origin and caused discomfort while pitching; said surgery was successful and Strasburg is doing well.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 11, 2015
Boras said Stephen Strasburg had a "muscular" growth removed from his back in a minor procedure. Bugged him when he pitched. "He's fine."— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) November 11, 2015
More info when/if it's available...