TODAY: Strasburg has officially been reinstated from the 10-day IL, the Nationals announced. Right-hander Kyle McGowin was optioned to Triple-A to make roster space.
MAY 20: The Nationals are planning to reinstate Stephen Strasburg from the injured list to start tomorrow’s game against the Orioles, manager Dave Martinez told reporters (including Maria Torres of the Athletic). It’ll be Strasburg’s first appearance in just over a month, as he went on the IL April 18 with right shoulder inflammation.
Washington is surely thrilled to get Strasburg back to action. The star righty helped lead the Nats to a World Series title in 2019, and the organization retained him on a seven-year, $245MM contract that offseason. Unfortunately, Strasburg has thus far only managed four starts since then. A bout with carpal tunnel syndrome limited him to five innings last season, and this spring’s shoulder problem has kept him to ten frames in 2021.
The Nationals have struggled over the season’s first month-plus. Set back by an early COVID-19 outbreak, Washington climbed back to briefly take first place in the NL East. They’ve scuffled over the past few weeks, though, dropping to the bottom of the division at 17-23. The Nationals rotation has been a little below-average this season, sitting 18th in each of ERA (4.41), SIERA (4.19) and strikeout minus walk rate (14.7 percentage points). That’s a disappointment for a starting staff that was expected to be the backbone of the club.
With Strasburg out, the Nationals added Erick Fedde to the rotation. Fedde has pitched reasonably well, working to a 4.35 ERA/4.58 SIERA in eight starts. Strasburg’s return might eventually bump him to the bullpen, but Fedde will be out of action for the next few days after testing positive for COVID-19.