The frustrating 21 months since being named Most Valuable Player of the 2019 World Series continues Stephan Strasbourgwho again had neck pain while throwing during his last bullpen session.
The veteran right-handed man was able to throw a bullpen session and then a long throw earlier this week, but his second bullpen session caused more discomfort in his neck, forcing that Nationals to keep him from throwing for the time being while they try to work out the next steps.
“So once again Strasbourg had an uncomfortable feeling on the back of the neck so we pushed him back again and now we have to figure something else out for him,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters this afternoon during his pre-game Zoom session. “I know they will look at various options to see if we can find another specialist to visit. But right now, this is still happening to him, so we have to figure something else out for him.
“It’s unfortunate, I know he is really trying hard to get back on this hill and keep coming back. But as I said, when we get Strasbourg back, I want him to come back healthy. That’s why we’re going to weigh up all of the options here. But at the moment we supported him a bit and then we’ll see what happens in the next few days. “
Strasbourg has been on the 10-day injury list with a neck strain since June 2, and spent some time on the IL early in the season with an infection in his right shoulder. He also suffered a setback in his recovery from that injury after experiencing the same discomfort when he threw a simulated game earlier this month when the team was in San Diego. This follows a shortened 2020 season in which Strasbourg only made two starts due to carpal tunnel neuritis surgery.
With those stakes on the injured list, Strasbourg has only completed 26 2/3 innings since signing a seven-year $ 245 million deal to return to Washington after leading the team to their first World Series title.
Now he still has the same gnawing, “aching” pain in the back of his neck.
“It’s still the same kind of pain,” Martinez said, looking sad and frustrated for his starting pitcher. “Like I said after speaking to him, he’s frustrated because he’s worked so hard. So I told him, I said, ‘Look, we just have to find out what it is and then we move on. We’ve been here before so I know it’s been a bumpy road for you and I know you want to come back and serve. ”The most important thing is that he has to stay positive. He has to understand that it’s unfortunate, but as I always tell him, I would love to have him back, but when I get him back I want him to be healthy. “
The other frustrating part of this equation is not only the return of the pain, but the fact that the Nats don’t know what is causing it. Solving this puzzle is now a top priority for Strasbourg.
“We have to find out what is really causing this,” said Martinez. “Like I said, he can go out and play long toss in two or three days, get ready to throw again, and what can you say it won’t happen to him again?” So we’ve gone through this process a couple of times. It just keeps coming back, it’s always irritating. So we need to find out what’s next medically for him. I know he has spoken to our coaches, they are looking and weighing options, looking at different doctors and medical staff and seeing if we can determine exactly what is going on. “
Perhaps the only good news is that it doesn’t appear to be a mechanical problem. Martinez confirmed that Strasburg and pitching coach Jim Hickey were working on the mechanics of the right-handed man on the hill and that he was good at throwing the ball.
“He and Hickey checked his mechanics carefully,” said Martinez. “I know how he threw the last couple of times and I can say I’ve thrown him the last couple of bullpens and the ball came out well and it looked good. He was standing a little better with his legs. I know they talk about him standing a little taller, and he did. But you know, like I said, the next day he comes back and his neck area, his trap area is sore. So we have to find out why that is. “
For now, that’s all Strasbourg and the Nationals can do while getting a different opinion from another specialist. Until that is done, there is no real timetable for when Strasbourg can throw again, let alone take the hill.
“Yeah, I never set a schedule for what he did,” Martinez said. “Like I said, it’s just about getting him through the process. We have taken this hurdle before and he has had this discomfort before. He had it again. You know, he doesn’t mind, he goes out and throws long throws and all and he feels OK. If he throws a bullpen, it irritates him a little. So that’s what we have to find out. “
Note: Major League Baseball announced today, in consultation with the MLB Players Association, that Starlin Castros The administrative leave was extended for a further seven days until July 29th. Castro was given administrative leave by the MLB last Friday under the MLB-MLBPA Joint MLB-MLBPA Policy on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse, while the league is investigating an allegation that he committed domestic violence.