The Nationals will welcome back Stephen Strasburg for his season debut on Thursday, manager Dave Martinez told reporters (including Jessica Camerato of MLB.com). The three-time All-Star is back after making a trio of minor league rehab starts, and Thursday’s outing will be his first MLB appearance in a bit more than a calendar year. Strasburg last took a big league mound at Atlanta’s Truist Park on June 1, 2021, an appearance he left with neck irritation. A little less than two months later, he underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, and he missed the first couple months of this season continuing his rehab from that procedure.
The 2019 World Series MVP has made just seven MLB starts since signing a seven-year, $245MM contract the offseason after the Nationals’ World Series title. Strasburg is making $35MM annually through 2026, an investment that looks regrettable in light of his recent health woes. The Nats are desperate for rotation help, though, and they’d welcome anything close to Strasburg’s pre-2020 form. Each of Patrick Corbin, Joan Adon, Josiah Gray and Erick Fedde has an ERA of 4.71 or higher thus far.
Strasburg makes his season debut a couple days after infielder Ehire Adrianza, who was reinstated from the 60-day injured list before today’s game. The Nats already had a vacancy on the 40-man roster, and Lucius Fox was optioned out in a corresponding move. Adrianza signed a $1.5MM deal over the winter but suffered a Spring Training quad strain that cost him the first couple months of the season. The switch-hitting utiltiyman had a .247/.327/.401 showing as a part-time player for the Braves last year.
The latest on some other injury situations around the game:
- The Giants placed starter Alex Cobb on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to June 4, with a neck strain. San Francisco recalled Sam Long to take the veteran righty’s spot on the active roster. It doesn’t seem the organization’s particularly concerned about Cobb’s status, as manager Gabe Kapler told reporters the team is hopeful he can return when first eligible for next weekend’s series in Pittsburgh (via Andrew Baggarly of the Athletic). Signed to a two-year, $20MM guarantee over the offseason, Cobb has had a strange first season in the Bay Area. He owns career-best marks in both strikeout percentage (28.7%) and ground-ball rate (65.4%), but he’s nevertheless posted a 5.73 ERA through his first eight starts.
- Alec Mills made his season debut this evening, as the Cubs reinstated him from the 60-day injured list before tonight’s matchup against the Orioles. Chicago had a temporary extra 40-man roster spot after placing reliever Chris Martin on the restricted list over the weekend. Martin has been on bereavement leave for more than the allotted seven days, and he won’t count against the 40-man roster for any additional time he needs to spend away from the team. Mills tossed 119 innings for the Cubs last season, working to a 5.07 ERA while starting 20 of his 32 appearances. The 30-year-old doesn’t throw hard or miss many bats, but he fills up the strike zone and induced grounders on a bit more than half of batted balls last year. He missed the first two months of the season with a lower back strain.