Stephen Strasburg’s return to the Washington Nationals‘ rotation has been a short-lived one. Days after making his first major-league start in more than a year, Strasburg is headed back to the injured list after feeling discomfort following a bullpen session. Nationals manager Dave Martinez made the announcement on Monday.
According to Martinez, Strasburg experienced no physical issues during his Thursday start against the Marlins, in which he allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. However, something did feel off physically following that Saturday bullpen session. Martinez did not specify the nature of the discomfort, but he did say Strasburg will undergo an MRI.
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Strasburg has a grim recent history when it comes to injuries. His 2021 season was cut short after he underwent surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome. In 2020, Strasburg also had season-ending surgery, that time for carpal tunnel neuritis in his throwing hand. Because of those injuries and the serious nature of them, Strasburg has made a total of just eight starts since the start of the 2020 season.
Unfortunately for the club, that run of injuries roughly coincides with the decision to sign Strasburg to a $245 million extension that runs through the 2026 season. He’s owed the balance of a $35 million salary for 2022, and then will make $35 million in each of the following four seasons.
Now 33, Strasburg is a Nats lifer and when healthy has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. He was an essential part of the Nats’ 2019 run to the World Series title as he pitched to a 3.32 ERA and led the NL in innings that year en route to finishing fifth in the NL Cy Young balloting. For his career, Strasburg has compiled a WAR of 31.2 and made three All-Star appearances.