Stephen Strasburg received a second opinion which confirmed the original diagnosis of carpal tunnel neuritis in his right hand on Friday.
Davey Martinez told reporters in advance of the series opener with the Miami Marlins that he was waiting to talk to the Washington Nationals’ 2019 World Series MVP about the new assessment of the issue before making a decision on the next step.
“Now we’re going to sit back and discuss what the plans are moving forward,” Martinez said.
“I haven’t seen Stephen today, I’m going to talk to him and see what his options are and what he wants to do. I think it’s something that’s going to have to be fixed, so we’ll see.”
As for the options for fixing the issue?
“We don’t know,” Martinez said.
“Are we conservative, and let it try to heal, or the other option is it could be possible to have surgery, so like I said, I want to talk to Stephen before we come up to any final conclusion.”
This afternoon, Martinez said it would be the latter option. Strasburg is going for surgery on his right hand, and he’ll more than likely be done for the 2020 campaign though his skipper stopped short of saying so definitively.
“We put him on the IL, the 60-Day IL, so he’ll have surgery next week and then we’ll go from there,” Martinez explained.
“Hopefully the surgery goes well,” he added. “The biggest thing is that the surgery relieves anything he has and that he’s able to rehab and come back, for me, come back strong next Spring Training.
“Long-term goal, that’s what we’re hoping for. If a miracle happens, and you know, but he’s still got to ramp up and I don’t see [that being] the case. I told you before that we want to make sure that he’s 100% when he comes back. We don’t want nothing else to break down on him, so we’re going to take this very slowly and carefully.”
Martinez said he did talk to Strasburg between Friday’s news and today’s announcement, and the conversation was a good one.
“He was very receptive. He wants to get this right,” the manager said.
“Disappointed that he couldn’t finish out this season, but I told him, I said, let’s just get this fixed. He was hoping that maybe he could fight through this, but for me it doesn’t make any sense that he goes out there and tries to do what he did his last outing.
“So let’s just get it fixed and hopefully he comes back and he helps us win in the future. He’s a huge part of this future, as you know, he’s here for many, many years, so we want to get him healthy.”
Strasburg, who signed a 7-year/$245M deal with the club this winter after briefly testing the free agent market, was scratched from his scheduled 2020 debut with what was originally said to be a nerve issue in his right wrist. He received a cortisone shot, took time off, and returned, but felt it late in his first start of the season, then left his second attempt after just one inning of work when his manager and trainer didn’t like what they saw from him on the mound.
“He took the shot,” Martinez said today, “... obviously it didn’t work, it came back, he could have probably taken another shot and seen, but we just need to get it fixed. We didn’t want this to prolong anything and we wanted to make sure that it’s fixed, and like I said he’s ready to go — if it takes until Spring Training, he’s ready to go Spring Training right from the get-go.
“Hopefully with this being fixed, the surgery will fix it, he’s good, he’s ready, he rehabs, and he comes back to Spring Training ready to help us win.”
Martinez, acknowledging that this was not a common baseball injury, said that there really is no road map or timetable for Strasburg’s recovery right now, outside of hoping that he’ll get right in time for the start of Spring Training 2021.
“This is something that it was very weird,” he said.
“He was complaining about his wrist, and then next thing you know his thumb started going numb on him, and he couldn’t feel the baseball, that’s how it all started.
“I don’t know, for sure, but they don’t know how this could have happened.”
The hope now is that surgery allows him to get back to the form he showed in 2019 when he helped lead the way to a World Series championship.
“My only concern is that he does anything to change his mechanics, that’s why we want to make sure we take this very slow,” Martinez said. “We want the wrist and the thumb to heal, the nerve, after the surgery, and then from there, slowly but surely bring him back so that nothing else goes wrong.
“We don’t want him changing mechanics, because as you all know, he was in a really good place with everything.
“We want to get him back there before he really starts amping up and starts throwing again, so with that being said, with the way the surgery goes these days, the doctor said that he should be totally 100% when this heals and ready to pitch again, so we’re very hopeful that that’s the case.”