The latest update on Stephen Strasburg, (who has been out of action since June 1st, with what was originally described as a neck strain when he went on the 10-Day IL on 6/2), isn’t positive, unless you think the fact that they finally figured out what is wrong with him is a positive development, which it sort of is.
Strasburg, after trying to rehab from the issue in his neck for all this time, went to see a specialist, Dr. Gregory Pearl, in Dallas, TX, when another setback last week brought his progress to a halt.
“We did get a report,” Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters early this afternoon, “... and Stephen will have surgery tomorrow. He has a neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. So, it’s a nerve, and he opted to have the surgery, and hopefully correct this and have the procedure, and hopefully he comes back and he’s ready to go next year.”
It’s the latest blow for a Nationals squad that has been beset by injuries this season, to the point that Max Scherzer half-joked that the injury bug is more like an injury rat in the team clubhouse.
For Strasburg, who, of course, had Tommy John surgery back in 2010, it’s another surgery after his 2020 campaign ended prematurely, when an issue with carpal tunnel neuritis required a surgical fix as well.
Earlier this season, he missed time with inflammation in his right shoulder, and after three starts back, he landed on the IL again when there was clearly something bothering him on the mound.
“It definitely hurts the team,” Martinez acknowledged after learning for sure that he wouldn’t have the 2019 World Series MVP for the rest of the 2021 season, “... but with that being said, man, Stephen has worked to try to come back and unfortunately this is the steps we’ve got to take now.
“But hopefully we get this fixed and he’ll be ready to come back and help us next year.
“I know he’s frustrated, as we all are, but sometimes things don’t work out like you want and we‘ve got to move forward. Hopefully this will help us move forward, and at least now we know what’s — hopefully we know what’s going on and he gets through this and he rehabs and we get him back.”
Since earning the World Series MVP nod after a dominant postseason run, and signing a 7-year/$245M deal with the club that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2009, Strasburg has started in just seven games, with 26 2⁄3 IP on the mound in the majors over the last two years.
It’s been a tough couple years, but Martinez at least remains positive that this is just another obstacle to overcome for one of the franchise’s marquee players.
“Yeah, you know, look, from the other side, watching him pitch from the other side, he’s one of those dominating pitchers, you know,” the fourth-year skipper, and the one-time Chicago Cubs’ bench coach explained, “... and we know that. We faced him in ‘17 in the playoffs and he shut us down, 1-0.
“Then I get to manage him here and I know what kind of workhorse he is when he’s healthy, and he’s on the mound, and what he did in ‘19 for us. A big reason why we did what we did and we were able to win the world championship, and for him to have all these issues, it’s frustrating for him, it’s frustrating for us, but one thing I thought about last night is really thinking about him and what he’s going through and when he comes back, trying to be as positive as I can with him and encourage him to stay with it, and just try to get ready and get ready for Spring Training. Because he still has a lot of years here and a healthy Strasburg can help us win a lot of games. So I’m really pushing for that, I’m hoping for that, and I know that he feels the same way, that he wants to get back on the mound and help us win games.”