The Nationals have placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, and recalled righty Taylor Jordan from Triple-A Syracuse to take his place, the club announced today. Strasburg left his start yesterday after just 56 pitches due to discomfort in his left side.
The transaction continues what’s been a frustrating season for Strasburg, who’s already made one trip to the DL to recover from a strained left trapezius muscle and has also dealt with several other nagging injuries. Strasburg has only pitched 61 innings in 2015 and his health issues have surely been a factor in his uncharacteristically high 5.16 ERA. His peripheral numbers (9.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9) and ERA indicators (3.55 FIP, 3.38 xFIP, 3.44 SIERA) suggest that Strasburg had pitched somewhat better than his ERA, which could also be explained by a .355 BABIP and a low 64.1% strand rate. Since returning from his initial DL stint, Strasburg had looked much better, allowing just two runs and posting 18 strikeouts over 15 2/3 innings.
If Strasburg is able to make a quick recovery, there’s a chance he might technically not need to be replaced on the pitching staff. Nats manager Matt Williams hinted that the team could simply employ a four-man rotation until the All-Star break since Washington has an off-day on Thursday. If Strasburg is still on the DL once the second half resumes, Tanner Roark (who has already made six starts this year) will likely take his spot in the rotation.
It’s doubtful that Strasburg’s injury would lead to an external acquisition even if he did miss significant time. Nationals starters have combined for a league-best 10.6 fWAR, with Roark and Joe Ross providing valuable depth behind Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister and Strasburg.