Stephen Strasburg tossed 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings on 38 total pitches when he faced Houston early last week, walking one and striking out four in his 2021 spring debut.
Davey Martinez talked before outing No. 2 for the 2009 No. 1 overall pick about what to expect in terms of a pitch count for the right-hander.
“We’re going to hopefully get him up to around 50 to 60 pitches, we’ll see how the game goes,” Martinez said, before sharing what he’d be focused on while watching the starter.
Stephen Strasburg, Filthy Changeup. pic.twitter.com/ylQmjK8htu— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 14, 2021
“Right now he’s on his regular routine as he is any Spring Training,” Martinez said. “After he pitches of course we always evaluate him the next day, and see how he feels, but after his last outing, the next day he said he felt normal, just like any other time he went out there to pitch, and that’s a good sign.”
Strasburg tossed 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings to start the second matchup with the Astros this week, working around a bit of traffic, but as he threw a curve for strike two to José Altuve with his 45th offering, the righty landed awkwardly, and catcher Yan Gomes came out, as did the team’s trainer, and the starter left the mound after a brief discussion.
Trip to the mound after Stephen Strasburg goes to a full count with Jose Altuve on his 45th pitch, and Yan Gomes comes out to talk on the mound, and the trainer is out for a visit. That's it for Strasburg. Was stretching his lower leg after the pitch/landing awkwardly... pic.twitter.com/zSI8sffUrz— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) March 14, 2021
Strasburg talked to reporters about a half an hour afterwards and downplayed any concern that it was a significant issue.
“Everything was feeling good,” the 32-year-old, 11-year veteran explained. “And then I kind of — the calf grabbed me a little bit and you know, luckily the reports and stuff from the doctor is nothing major, so it was just kind of more of a precautionary thing, and just kind of take it day-to-day and see how it feels tomorrow.”
Strasburg said it was an issue with his left calf. “Just kind of strained the plantaris — I don’t know if it’s a ligament or tendon or something like that — but yeah, it happens, but it’s not something that’s going to require any sort of long-term recovery, so it’s definitely good news. So day to day.”
Having recovered from surgery to alleviate an issue with carpal tunnel neuritis which ended his 2020 campaign after just two starts and five innings of work, Strasburg, who, of course, had Tommy John surgery early in his career, and has dealt with a variety of issues in his time in the majors, said it was a little frustrating.
“Yeah, I mean, we’re all on different journeys, I guess, so I’ve just got to keep telling myself I’m going to keep grinding, keep working hard, and roll with the punches,” he said.
Will the next step be a bullpen session to test it and make sure it’s not a more serious issue?
“I think that’s the direction it’s going,” Strasburg told reporters.
“And I think it’s still just kind of treat it, and luckily I feel like I’m a fast healer, so I don’t think it would be something that would be a prolonged absence.”
After coming off the mound, out of an abundance of caution, Strasburg said he was 100% sure he could have kept going if it was something more important than a Spring Training game, and the doctor in West Palm Beach took a look and eased any concerns about the severity of the calf issue.
“The doctor looked at it and we did a little ultrasound,” Strasburg explained, “... which —ultrasound is pretty straightforward, and it’s definitely not something I’m concerned about, so it’s kind of do what they want me to do for tomorrow, and just see how it feels and get back out there soon.”