Stephen Strasburg makes his second rehab start with the P-Nats this afternoon and the Nationals are hoping he’ll be ready for the second-half opener the next time he takes the mound.
Stephen Strasburg threw 57 pitches, 34 for strikes, in his first rehab start with the Potomac Nationals back on July 10th, giving up two hits, a walk, and a run while striking out five in 3 1⁄3 IP for the Washington’s High-A affiliate.
Reports that Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez received were positive.
“I like the fact that his velo was pretty good,” Martinez told reporters, as quoted by MLB.com writer Jamal Collier. “He topped out at 98 [mph] and was consistently at 95 [mph].”
The plan, Martinez explained yesterday, in advance of the 29-year-old’s second start with the P-Nats today, was to have Strasburg make one more rehab start this afternoon to make sure that any issues with the right shoulder inflammation were behind him before he returns to the big league rotation.
“He’s going to pitch tomorrow and hopefully he gets to about 80-85 pitches,” Martinez said, though he wouldn’t commit to any other steps in Strasburg’s rehab at that point, when he was asked if the next outing would be a return to the Nationals’ rotation in next Friday’s “second-half” opener against the Atlanta Braves.
“Let’s hope that it goes well tomorrow,” Martinez cautioned, “but that would be welcomed around here, but we’ll see. When we get him back we want him back for the duration, so we’ll have a conversation with him and see how he feels after.”
In 13 starts before he landed on the Disabled List, Strasburg was (6-6) with a 3.46 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 19 walks (2.72 BB/9), 95 Ks (10.60 K/9), and a .227/.281/.399 line against over 80 2⁄3 IP.
Strasburg missed time a little later in the season last summer, when what was diagnosed as a right elbow nerve impingement cost him close to a month on the DL coming out of the All-Star Break, but he returned to dominate opposing hitters, putting up a 0.86 ERA and a .171/.231/.226 line against in 62 2⁄3 IP down the stretch leading to two dominant outings in the NLDS with the Chicago Cubs.
Strasburg and the P-Nats start play at 1:05 PM EDT, five minutes before the Nationals and New York Mets start the fourth game of their four-game series in Citi Field.