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Doctor confirms trapezius strain for Strasburg


Doctor confirms trapezius strain for Strasburg

A follow-up exam by the Nationals’ team doctor on Stephen Strasburg confirmed the club’s initial diagnosis when the struggling pitcher departed his last start after only one inning: He has a strained left trapezius muscle.

Strasburg hasn’t thrown since leaving Friday night’s game in Cincinnati, and he won’t be cleared to resume throwing until the muscle in his lower neck/upper back is healed, manager Matt Williams said Tuesday morning. The timetable for that development is unknown at this point.

“He will not throw until that’s taken care of,” Williams said. “But it could be within days that it feels better and he’s able to get back out there and do all the things he needs to do to get prepared to pitch again. But for right now, it’s there again, so they’re working on it.”

Strasburg has not made himself available to reporters since being placed on the DL on Saturday.

The strained left trap muscle emerged only a couple weeks after Strasburg left a previous start with discomfort under his right shoulder blade. The Nationals don’t know whether the two are related, but it appears obvious that something has caused Strasburg physical discomfort for several weeks now, playing at least some role in the worst prolonged stretch of his career.

“We have to make sure we determine what it is and fix it,” Williams said. “Whatever’s causing that in his back, we have to see if we can fix it, then get him back out there and allow him to be free and easy and pitch and do what he does best.”

Strasburg, who has a 6.55 ERA and is averaging only 4.5 innings per start this season, has been plagued by poor fastball command throughout this slump. The Nationals, though, have no evidence of significant mechanical issues by the right-hander.

“We’ve looked at it extensively,” Williams said. “[Pitching coach Steve McCatty] has looked at it, all the video. There’s minor adjustments that guys make during the course of a season, but nothing that glares at us that he’s changed or that’s drastically different, no.”

Some have wondered whether time off would benefit Strasburg, not only physically but mentally, providing him an opportunity to clear his mind. Williams doesn’t view this situation that way.

“It’s never good to go on the disabled list,” the manager said. “Nobody wants to go there. Does it give him a chance to reset? Yeah, if he’s doing stuff. If he’s doing what he needs to get back to pitch, yeah. But for right now, he’s idle. And until that calms down, he can’t get back to it. Then he can make the adjustments he needs to make, if any, and go from there.”

Strasburg’s next turn in the rotation comes up Wednesday. The Nationals haven’t announced his replacement yet, but Williams suggested Taylor Jordan would get the nod if he’s not needed during Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays.

Meanwhile, fellow injured right-hander Doug Fister is making progress in his return from a strained forearm. Fister threw roughly 20 fastballs off a bullpen mound Monday and experienced no discomfort.

“I think it’s pretty much subsided completely,” he said, “and that’s a good thing.”

Fister will throw another bullpen session in the next few days, adding breaking balls to his repertoire. He said he was never terribly worried the injury was serious, though the condition got worse during his final start in San Diego two weeks ago.

“You know, it was really just more tight than complete, utter mayhem,” he said. “So I mean, it wasn’t a bad issue. It was more of just: ‘I really need a break for some reason, there’s so much tightness going on that we really need to address it.'”


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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.