Nationals manager Dave Martinez confirmed the news before Saturday’s doubleheader against the Miami Marlins. Strasburg visited a nerve specialist this week who determined he’s been dealing with carpal tunnel neuritis.
Strasburg was officially moved from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list.
Strasburg hasn't been 100 percent all season
Strasburg has been dealing with the nerve issue since opening weekend. He was scratched from his first scheduled start against the New York Yankees on July 25. He finally made his season debut on Aug. 9 against the Baltimore Orioles, but admitted he wasn't 100 percent after allowing five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Strasburg started again against the Orioles on Aug. 14, but was removed in the first inning after his fastball velocity remained below his 94 mph average from 2019. At the time, Martinez said Strasburg was dealing with numbness in his thumb that would come and go. He also stated he wouldn't allow Strasburg to pitch again this season until he was fully healed.
The 32-year-old right-hander is in the first year of a seven-year, $245 million contract that was signed after he won World Series MVP last fall.
Can the Nationals survive without Strasburg?
The Nationals relied heavily on their rotation last season when making their run to the World Series. They were hoping to do so again this season, particularly after losing Anthony Rendon in free agency. It hasn't worked out so far. Washington enters the weekend at 9-12 thanks to a variety of issues, including the struggles of former closer Sean Doolittle.
Without Strasburg, the road gets much more difficult. It also doesn't help that Max Scherzer has struggled with several ailments of his own over the last two seasons. Last year, it was neck and back pain. This season, he's battling a nagging hamstring issue.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin is holding steady with a 3.91 ERA, but has seen his strikeouts-per-nine dip from 10.6 to 8.6 through four starts. Veteran Anibal Sanchez is sporting a 8.50 ERA. Right-handers Austin Voth and Erick Fedde haven't stepped up yet. Both have an ERA at or above 5.00.
There are more questions than answers right now. But that doesn't mean it can't or won't turn around. After all, the Nationals rallied from 19-31 to win it all last season. Washington could also explore upgrades ahead of the Aug. 31 trade deadline. Though another rough week could change their strategy.
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