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Washington Nationals news & notes: Rotation ?s edition…

Have we seen the last of Stephen Strasburg on the mound for the Nats?

Washington Nationals v. Miami Marlins Photo by Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Strasburg’s Future:

Davey Martinez talked at length at the 2022 Winter Meetings about the club’s expectations for Stephen Strasburg in 2023, following three seasons of injuries and surgeries which have limited him to just eight starts and 31 13 innings pitched in the majors.

“I’m not going to put any more pressure on Strasburg,” the manager said.

“I know he’s rehabbing right now. He’s progressing. When he’s ready and we deem he’s ready, it’s going to be awesome to see him out on that mound.”

Strasburg, 34, made three starts in the minors in 2022 (posting a 1.98 ERA over 13 23 IP), as he worked his way back to the mound in the majors, but just one outing in the big leagues, before he went back on the Injured List.

Martinez, said this time around if he comes back again, he’ll make sure Strasburg starts at home?

“I promise the fans that, when he does step on the mound, it will be at home.

“When he does that, we’ll start him at home.”

If Strasburg gets on the mound in 2023, who cares where it is? I guess fans do, but wouldn’t you settle for seeing him on the mound anywhere?

Strasburg’s lone start in 2022 took place in Miami, but he had a setback after the long recovery process following surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and didn’t pitch again.

In early December (of ‘22) Martinez said the progress was slow and the ‘09 No. 1 overall pick hadn’t started throwing yet at that point.

“He’s coming along,” the manager said.

“He’s progressing. He’s not throwing yet, but he’s definitely gaining a lot more strength. So for me that’s a good sign.”

Martinez declined to offer any timetable for Strasburg’s potential return to the hill.

“I’m not going to put any expectations right now on him,” the Nats’ skipper said.

“All I can tell you is that he’s working really hard. He wants to pitch again, and that’s a plus for us.

“So when he’s ready and we deem that he’s ready, we hope that will be sometime this year and soon, then he’s going to be like signing a big free agent for us. He really is.”

GM Mike Rizzo echoed the manager’s sentiments when he spoke at the ‘22 Winter Meetings.

They are not going to put any pressure on him in terms of a timetable for his potential return to the mound.

“We’re not putting any timetables or any mileposts that he has to pass,” Rizzo said.

“We’re going to be very cautious with him and just make sure that when he does get back he feels good about himself and until then we’re just going to rehab him and watch his progress.”

Strasburg, talking to the Washington Post reporter Jesse Dougherty in September of last year, seemed aware of his own situation as the time off the mound piles up and chances of a return to form seem more remote.

“Every time I’ve had an injury, I felt like I was going to be the best there is coming back,” Strasburg told the WaPost reporter in mid-September ‘22.

“This is the one that’s still definitely a big question mark.”

“I realize the clock is ticking,” the 13-year veteran said.

“It’s been almost three years since I’ve been able to pitch competitively, and it’s not like I’m getting younger.”

“I know Stras is working extremely hard in doing what he can do, and then we’ll have to see [where] the rehab process takes us later in the winter,” Rizzo said at the end of the 2022 campaign. “We’re going to monitor him, and he’s local, so we’ll see him all the time, and we’ll see where he’s at going into Spring Training mode.”

What, if anything, do you expect the Nats will get from Strasburg in the fourth year of the 7-year/$245M free agent deal he signed after helping the club win the World Series in 2019? Have we seen his last start in the majors?