Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez provided the latest update on the status of IL’d starter Stephen Strasburg when he spoke about the right-hander starting to throw on Wednesday morning.
Strasburg, 32, landed on the 10-Day IL with inflammation in his right shoulder on April 18th, (retroactive to April 15th), after he struggled on the mound in his second start of the season and felt something when he threw a bullpen as part of his normal between-outings routine.
“He went through his routine this week, he threw a bullpen, said he felt fine,” skipper Davey Martinez explained last week. “The next day he said he felt something wasn’t right and that is when we deemed that he probably should go and get it looked at and get an MRI.
“Other than that, till then, after the game, we talked to him after the game, he said he felt fine, so we went through his regular routine this whole week, and after his bullpen, which, he threw well, he said he didn’t feel right, so that was an indication that we needed to get him checked out.”
Searching for positives, Martinez, who qualified that he’s not a doctor, offered his take on what he saw on Strasburg’s MRI.
“I’d like to say from what I’ve seen it doesn’t look bad, but I’m not a doctor,” he said.
“The biggest thing is to get that inflammation out of there whether it’s small or whatever, just get it out of there and get him healthy.
“This guy, he’s a workhorse for us, so we need him back, but we need him healthy.”
“Stras doesn’t feel too concerned about it, which makes me feel good. He knows his body,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies this past Wednesday, adding that once he’s ready to return Strasburg will, obviously, have to ramp back up.
“With pitchers, as long as they are shut down, they have to ramp up,” Rizzo said. ”As long as he doesn’t pitch is how long it’s going to take when he does come back to pitch in the Big Leagues. It’s often time-consuming.”
Later that day, Martinez said Strasburg threw on flat ground, taking the first step towards an eventual return.
“He actually threw 75 feet yesterday [Tuesday],” Martinez told reporters.
“He felt okay ... we’re going to build him back up and hopefully ramp him up as soon as we can get him back on the mound we’ll get him back on the mound.”
The next step, as of this past Wednesday?
“He’ll probably throw some light bullpens at first, and see how that goes. And then he’ll throw a heavy-duty bullpen and then we’ll probably have to get him a sim game or two.”
Martinez also talked about the effort-level from Strasburg when he threw on Tuesday, since it clearly wasn’t an all-out, 100% return to throwing.
“It was more of a percentage-wise, it was kind of more like a catch at 75 feet. So, he threw some balls okay, he threw some balls just to kind of get loose, to see how he felt. I haven’t heard today how he feels today, so hopefully he felt good after the throwing session.”
Strasburg is on the IL. Patrick Corbin struggled in his first couple outings before turning it around last time out. Jon Lester hasn’t started yet. After surgery to remove a parathyroid gland this spring, Lester ended up on the COVID-IL when the crisis hit the Nationals before Opening Day. Max Scherzer has been solid after a shaky debut. Joe Ross started strong then took a step back last time out.
Martinez said he was confident in the depth the organization has assembled, and confident that the starters they expected to anchor the rotation this season will get it going, and help the team compete.
“I have total confidence that these guys,” he said. “Strasburg will come back and he’ll start pitching on a regular routine. You saw what Corbin did yesterday. Max has been really good. [Erick] Fedde seems like he’s coming along okay, and Joe, other than his last outing, he was really, really good.
“We’re going to fight with these guys, but if you look at our offense, we’ve swung the bat pretty good. So if we just get a little bit of pitching I think we’re going to score runs. I really do. Our offense has been good. I said this before, it takes a few games to really consistently with the pitching and the hitting, to put it all together. And once we start doing that, we’ll take off, we’ll have those strings of victories come through. So, I tell the boys, like I told them last night, ‘Keep pushing. Keep pushing. We’re going to click. Everything is going to work. Our bullpen has done really well, so keep plugging away, go 1-0 every day, and who knows where we’ll end up being here in the next week or so.”