The Nationals are without a pair of star players, as both Juan Soto (shoulder strain) and Stephen Strasburg (shoulder inflammation) are on the injured list at the moment. General manager Mike Rizzo told reporters this week, however, that he doesn’t expect either to be a long-term issue (link via Ethan Cadeaux of NBC Sports Washington). “We nipped this in the bud early and before it came really bad, so that’s a good thing,” said Rizzo of Soto’s shoulder strain. Strasburg’s stay on the IL will extend beyond the 10-day minimum, as he’ll need a bit of time to ramp up after being shut down from throwing. The GM didn’t offer as much on Strasburg’s injury but noted that the pitcher himself isn’t concerned at this point.
A few more notes on Washington and a division rival…
- Nationals reliever Will Harris discussed the right hand inflammation that has delayed his season debut with Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. The veteran righty tells Dougherty he’s still battling swelling in his fingers and forearm that progressively builds as he pitches, only to subside shortly after he’s completed his outing. Harris says he’s pain-free but the swelling has impacted his ability to command the ball and impart movement on his breaking pitches. As Harris and the organization search for ways to reduce its effect on the quality of his stuff, the 36-year-old continues to rehab and says he anticipates he’ll be ready for game action in a “few more weeks.” Dougherty’s interview with Harris is worth a full read for an examination of the rather bizarre situation.
- The Marlins have passed over former first-round pick Braxton Garrett a few times early in the season when they’ve had open spots in the rotation. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that general manager Kim Ng wouldn’t tip her hand as to whether Garrett would be an option this time around, particularly now with the struggling Nick Neidert optioned back to the team’s alternate site. Manager Don Mattingly spoke highly of Garrett’s showing in Spring Training, noting that the lefty was “more physical” than in 2020 and emphasizing the importance of fastball command for Garrett. The 23-year-old Garrett yielded five earned runs in 7 2/3 frames during a pair of starts in last summer’s MLB debut, and he fired four shutout innings during Spring Training. He’s missed a season due to Tommy John surgery since being selected seventh overall in 2016, but with prospects Sixto Sánchez and Edward Cabrera sidelined due to injury at present, Garrett could factor into the mix at some point early this year.
- Sánchez and Cabrera aren’t the only Marlins starting pitchers currently sidelined by injury. Elieser Hernández has been on the shelf for most of the month after leaving his first start of the season with biceps inflammation. The righty is currently throwing from 90 feet without issue and is scheduled for a bullpen session next week, relays Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). The 25-year-old Hernández earned a spot in the Marlins’ season-opening rotation with six very strong starts in 2020.