“I just want to start by saying Stephen [Strasburg] is going to go on the IL,” Davey Martinez said at the start of his pregame press conference this afternoon. The news, he said, hit him and the club hard. Strasburg, 33, made seven starts in 2020-2021, while dealing with carpal tunnel neuritis, and then Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and rehabbing from surgeries for each, made one start back this season after a long process, and now he’s heading back on the IL after not feeling right in the days following his outing.
“He — I couldn’t really talk about it yesterday, and I apologize for that,” Martinez continued, “but he threw his bullpen, the next day he didn’t feel so good. We were hoping it was just something that would go away, it didn’t. Today, we sent him to get an MRI. We don’t have any results back yet. He’s there as we speak. So we’ll know more about the injury and all that stuff after the game. Right now that’s all I have, but like I said before, this surgery — the thoracic outlet thing, you just don’t know. We don’t know if this is the same issue or not yet, but we’ll know more as soon as the doctor — as soon as we get the MRI, and the doctors read the image.
“But it stinks, because he was all excited to be back, but hopefully it’s just a minor setback.”
Martinez didn’t go into much detail about what the issue is or where it is.
Davey Martinez on #Nats' starter Stephen Strasburg heading back on the IL after just one start back:— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) June 13, 2022
"It stinks, because he was all excited to be back, but hopefully it’s just a minor setback.”
“He said he didn’t feel right,” the manager explained. “Some discomfort.
“As I said, we’re going to be ultra-careful with him, as I said all along, so we’ll see what happens after the MRI.”
Strasburg gave up eight hits, a walk, and seven runs in 4 2⁄3 innings pitched in his first start in the majors this season (after three outings in the minors he got through without any sort of issue), and the 2009 No. 1 overall pick and 2019 World Series MVP felt fine while he was out on the mound, but in the days after he didn’t feel right.
“He said he felt good after the game. He said legs felt fatigued, which is normal. But other than that he felt fine,” Martinez said.
It’s clearly a frustrating situation for everyone involved, but the Nats’ skipper said Strasburg is handling it as well as can be expected.
“He’s — if he’s not down he’s actually doing a good job of not showing it, but he felt like he was back,” Martinez told reporters. “I talked to him a little bit, he’s trying to keep as positive as he can be. But one thing I do know is that he wants to pitch. I’m not going to sit here and tell you something I don’t know. I don’t know much right now about what’s going on until the doctors look at it and tell us what’s going on, and then I’ll let you guys know.”
Martinez didn’t have a corresponding move to announce, and didn’t name a starter for the second of three with the Atlanta Braves in D.C., which Strasburg was set to start, but there will have to be some moves in the near future, and during a long week for the team.
As GM Mike Rizzo has noted often since the initial diagnosis for Strasburg, and as Martinez stressed today, there isn’t a whole lot of history with the surgery for pitchers dealing with TOS, but they’re all hoping for the best after a frustrating few years for the pitcher and the club.
“I’ve seen this,” Martinez said. “I’ve seen this before, in other guys, that it took them a while. Some guys — a couple years before they were able to come back and really get over it and pitch, so hopefully that’s not the case for Stephen. Like I said, this is so different for every pitcher. But right now, as I said all along, we’re going to be as careful as possible with him, and try to do everything right for Stephen and for this organization moving forward, so right now we’re at those bumpy roads and we’ll see what happens.”