The Nationals will place Stephen Strasburg on the injured list, per MLB Insider Jon Heyman. Strasburg’s still dealing with nerve irritation, according to manager Dave Martinez (via Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post). The diagnosis appears to be carpal tunnel neuritis of the right hand, per Todd Dybas of NBCSW.
Strasburg’s early season injury issues continued Friday in a start against the Orioles. Strasburg departed in the first inning, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com was among those to report. The Nationals replaced him with righty Erick Fedde.
Strasburg made his 2020 debut last Sunday and yielded five earned runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Orioles. The O’s Anthony Santander smacked a home run off Strasburg on Friday before he had to leave his rematch against the club. Before losing his command in the 4th, however, Strasburg looked like his old self, pulling the chain on changeups and placing his fastball around the edges of the zone.
This has no doubt been an alarming way to open the season for Strasburg, whom the Nationals re-signed to a seven-year, $245MM contract in free agency last winter. Strasburg earned that mega-deal on the heels of a brilliant season that he finished as the World Series MVP for the Nationals, who won their first-ever championship. Like Strasburg, though, Washington has begun the season in less-than-ideal fashion, as it entered Friday with a 6-10 record.
With Strasburg out, Fedde is likely to move back into the rotation. The 27-year-old right-hander has been in and out of the rotation for the better part of the past two seasons. He was in contention for a rotation spot at the start of the season, but that spot went to Austin Voth. The Nationals rotation has been in flux for the entirety of the season, starting with a hamstring issue that bothered Max Scherzer. Anibal Sanchez, another mainstay from last year’s team, has struggled out the gate.
Ryne Harper will return to the Nats to fill Strasburg’s roster spot, per Dybas. Harper’s been used quite a bit this season, but he’s been shelled of late. In total, the 31-year-old former Twin owns a 8.10 ERA/6.13 FIP, though a 10.8 K/9 gives at least a little hope that Harper can become a reliable source of outs for the NAts.