Let’s All Wish Together For A Healthy Stephen Strasburg:
Davey Martinez broke the news before questions started in his pregame press conference on Monday: Stephen Strasburg is heading back to the IL. There isn’t much news now, but the Nationals’ 2009 No. 1 overall pick went for an MRI and Martinez promised he’d update everyone when he knows more, but after Strasburg, who has been limited to seven starts over the 2020-21 seasons, made just one start back, there is now an as-yet-undisclosed issue for the 33-year-old starter.
“This is a surgery that — after talking to doctors and trainers, it’s relatively new,” Martinez explained of the procedure for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, “and it affects guys differently.”
“So after the surgery you just kind of see things on a broader spectrum, and hope that they come back and they can pitch and all of a sudden they become somewhat the person they were before, but you just don’t know what to expect.
“You don’t know how long before you get sore, you don’t know.”
Martinez didn’t have a corresponding move when he broke the unfortunate news on Strasburg.
“We’ll see how we get through this game today,” he said.
“As you guys know, this week is going to be something. We got a lot of games coming up, so we definitely got to do something.”
The Nationals play three with Atlanta this week, and then five games in four days with the Philadelphia Phillies, with a doubleheader on Friday.
So they’re going to have to do some maneuvering in the next few days, starting with their starting pitcher for tonight.*
“We’ll be TBD, yeah,” Martinez acknowledged after announcing the news on Strasburg.
“Like I said, this is something that — it’s tough, because he worked so hard to come back, and hopefully it’s something that we can work through, but we won’t know anything until we get the images back.”
[ed. note - “Though he didn’t provide any update on Strasburg in his post game presser, saying, “You know what, we’ll talk about Stephen tomorrow, if that’s okay, and I’ll know a lot more tomorrow about Stephen,” he did officially announce a starter for tonight’s game, 26-year-old, 2017 7th Round pick Jackson Tetreault.
“‘We will start Jackson Tetreault. He was in Triple-A, he’s pitching well, so he’ll come up and start tomorrow,’ Martinez said.”]
Injury Updates Galore:
In addition to the news on Strasburg, Davey Martinez provided some updates on a few other injured and rehabbing Nationals.
Josh Rogers went on the 15-Day IL with a left shoulder impingement on June 3rd, and his manager said the left-hander is feeling better.
“He’s doing well. He’s throwing some flat grounds. I think he’s going to prepare himself to throw some bullpens here relatively soon, but he’s doing a lot better.”
Aníbal Sánchez, out since the start of the season with a cervical nerve impingement, is now getting closer to ramping up towards a potential return.
“He’s throwing bullpens,” Martinez said. “If everything goes well, he’ll go to West Palm Beach and try throwing some live BPs and then try to build him up, but he’s doing a lot better.”
“I wish all these guys were ready today.”
They’re not, however, so unfortunately the Nationals are in a bind, as noted above. Moving on to other updates...
Joe Ross, who had his second Tommy John surgery recently, is back with the team, hanging out in the clubhouse, and doing what he can while he’s recovering from the procedure, and his manager said he’s happy to have the pitcher around the team.
“He’s good,” Martinez said. “I just finished talking to him for a while in the training room.
“He’s upbeat. He knows he’s got a long road ahead of him, but he’s positive and he says he’s done it once, he can do it again. He said he feels fine. He can’t do anything now for 14 days.
“But he says he feels like — after talking to the doctors, that he’ll just rehab it and see what comes out of it.”
Staying around the team, and doing his work in Nationals Park while the team is at home is good for Ross and his teammates, Martinez said.
“Look, he’s part of our team, and I told him any time he wants to be here he can, cause he can — when we’re at home — he can work out here, there’s not much he can do now, but he can do his leg strengthening and all those programs as much as he can tolerate he can do.
“When we go on the road it’s a different story, so we’ll figure something out for him. But I want him here around the guys.
“He’s pretty close to a lot of guys here, so it’s good for him, it’s good for his psyche, and it’s good for the other players to see him around.”
Will Harris, who’s still recovering from surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome as well, had a setback recently, Martinez said, but he’s back to building up.
“Will is just rehabbing,” the manager explained.
“Nothing different, nothing new,” he said. “He’s throwing. Just trying to build him up. He had a little bit of a hiccup, so we slowed him down a little bit, but he’s throwing again, and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens, but he’s throwing bullpens, so we’ll see how it goes.
“Like I said, he’s another one with this surgery, I mean, you just don’t know.”
With Harris, Strasburg, Ross, or any other pitcher, the former big league outfielder said, as the injuries pile up, it just makes things that much more difficult.
“It’s difficult, but you know, for me, I always look out for the best interest, one, of the player, and two, of us,” he said. “Because look, Stephen is here, he’s going to be here, so we want to make sure we take care of him now, and hopefully we get him back and when we do this will pass, and he can come back and have 25 starts. But it’s hard, because I never want anybody to get hurt, I really don’t. This game is tough enough, and when you have to deal with injuries it gets a little tougher, but for me it’s trying to keep him positive, trying to keep him motivated, keep him around, and hopefully they get better quick.”
Soto’s Knee Note:
Yes, Juan Soto looked uncomfortable limping around right field in the top of the ninth last night, and the Nationals pinch hit for him in the bottom of the inning, so what was up with that?
“He slipped and smacked his knee on the corner of the bench,” Martinez said after the loss to the Braves.
“He got pretty sore. So, just to be safe I took him out. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
So he did it before the inning, not on the field?
“He did it before the inning,” Martinez confirmed. “He said he can go out there, but he was limping pretty good when he went out to the field. He came back and he said he started getting really sore, so I said I don’t want to chance it. So we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”