After Stephen Strasburg left last night's game in Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park with what was later diagnosed as "left trap tightness", Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams was asked about the frustration the 26-year-old, 2009 no.1 overall pick has dealt with this season as he's worked through ankle and back issues and struggled on the mound, and the problems that his struggles have caused the Nats as a team.
"It's frustrating for him," Williams said.
"What it does for us is it puts us in a position with our bullpen where we don't want to go. So, good thing is we got a long guy down there [in Taylor Jordan], but we have to try to push him through a number of innings and tonight was a case where we had to try to get him through the sixth, because we can't just blow our bullpen up that way.
"We don't have another off day for a week, so it didn't work out tonight, but we'll address Stras tomorrow and see where he's at and make a decision from there."
Strasburg too said it was frustrating to keep on having issues when he's just trying to take the ball every fifth day and do his job.
"I'm trying to go out there and work through it and help this team win," Strasburg told reporters.
"And it's just something that I've got to pull through and ride it out and just know that it's going to get better eventually."
Jordan ended up throwing a total 74 pitches in 4 ⅔ IP after taking over Strasburg in the second, and he kept it close until the Reds rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth in what ended up a 5-2 win.
Having thrown that many pitches, however, Jordan was clearly not going to be available again for the next few days, so this afternoon, the Nationals, after placing Strasburg on the 15-Day DL with "neck tightness", called right-handed pitcher Taylor Hill up from Triple-A Syracuse.
Hill, 26, who made his MLB debut last season, was (3-2) through nine starts and 52 ⅔ IP with the Nationals' top minor league affiliate before he was called up this afternoon, over which he's put up a 4.35 ERA, a 4.14 FIP, nine walks (1.57 BB/9) and 26 Ks (4.53 K/9).
Strasburg heads to the DL after struggling to a (3-5) record in ten starts, over which he put up a 6.55 ERA, 3.97 FIP, 14 walks (2.78 BB/9) and 45 Ks (8.93 K/9).
• Here's what Matt Williams told reporters on the scene in Cincinnati after the announcement that Strasburg was being placed on the DL:
Starter for Strasburg's spot (Weds) is TBD. Hill here for long relief.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) May 30, 2015
Williams said he hopes it will be 15 days for Strasburg. Said they will exhaust all options to find out what's wrong.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) May 30, 2015
Williams: "It's perplexing because it's not anything you can point to. So Stras will go on the DL, get this thing worked out."— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) May 30, 2015
Nats hope it will just be 15 days for Strasburg, but they need to figure out what's causing him to be bothered by this.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) May 30, 2015
Could be a result of mechanics getting thrown off from spring ankle sprain. But the fact this back/neck issue is on left side is confusing— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) May 30, 2015