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Nats' Strasburg had PRP injection, will he return in time for playoffs?

Nats' Strasburg had PRP injection, will he return in time for playoffs?

Stephen Strasburg was understandably relieved with the results of the MRI he had on Thursday morning, the day following his start against the Braves that saw him leave in the third inning after feeling a pinch in the back of his elbow.

He has a strained right flexor mass, but more importantly his ulnar collateral ligament is fine. Whether he can return before the end of the season and pitch in the playoffs remains a question, but it could have been worse.

"It was about as good of news as you can get. So, I'm just trying to take it one day at a time now and do everything I can to get out there, not only as fast as possible but feeling right at the same time," he said.

Strasburg had a platelet-rich plasma injection on Friday. PRP involves drawing blood, spinning it in a machine and then injecting it into the area of injury. The blood is enriched and can help speed up the healing process. It's the same procedure Bryce Harper had done on his right knee in 2013. 

"I've felt really good. I was a little sore after the injection yesterday," Strasburg said. "They say it's just normal stiffness from there, that's the only thing I can really feel. But as far as pain or sensitivity, that's pretty much subsided."

Strasburg may get a second opinion on his elbow with another doctor, he said.

"I haven't really decided on that. I'm having another doctor look at the MRI results. If he feels like he wants to take a look at me, then I'll figure it out then."

Strasburg hurt himself in his first start back from the disabled list. He was out three weeks with right elbow soreness before returning on Wednesday.

Strasburg looked back on that night and the third inning, when he was removed by manager Dusty Baker and walked off the mound with his glove over his face.

"It was a little alarming to me. Even when I went out there for the third, it felt more like the seventh or eighth inning, which was kind of odd. I just tried to get it out and then felt something on a pitch and it didn't really go away. It just kind of stayed there. That's when I knew it probably wouldn't be a good idea to try to throw through it," Strasburg said.

Strasburg does not believe his new injury is related to the elbow soreness. In 2015, he had several injuries lead to other problems due to adjustments in his throwing motion. Strasburg does not think that happened this time.

"I feel like my mechanics improved, but I don't really know why it happened. Because you see the first two innings, the velocity was there and my stuff was moving well. Then, for whatever reason, it kind of went down real quick in the third as far as stamina and being able to do what I'm used to doing," he said.

Strasburg is back on the mend yet again after working his way back from the DL. But this time there is more urgency with just three weeks left in the regular season. 

If Strasburg is to come back in time for the playoffs, he'll need to make progress steadily and quickly. He knows that, but for now is just trying to remain patient.

"Unfortunately this has happened to me so many times," he said. "It's just like I can just sit here and let it eat at me, which I've done in the past and it doesn't make it any better, so it's the cards that I've been dealt and I'm just trying to stay positive and learn from it and work even harder."

[RELATED: VIDEO: U.S. Army parachuters make wild entrance at Nats Park]


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May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

The start of spring training is a glimmer of hope during the cold of winter. It means warm weather, cold beers and hot dogs at the ballpark are coming your way.

It's our first chance to get a taste of how our favorite team is shaping up for the 2018 season, and for those who are not quite into just the game itself, betting odds.

CG Technology, a Las Vegas sportsbook operator, has set the 2018 odds for each MLB team.

Specifically, how are things looking for the local teams?


Washington Nationals: 91 1/2 wins

The 2018 season is looked at by many as the last World Series run for some time for the Nationals and their core group of players. Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez will become free agents after the 2018 season in addition to general manager and President of Baseball Operations, Mike Rizzo.

In 2017, the team won 97 games and went on to win the NL East, but couldn't make it past the first-round of the National League Division Series. In 2018, Vegas is giving the Nats 7/2 odds of taking the National League title. They are just behind the Chicago Cubs, who knocked them out of contention last season, at 4/1 odds.

As far as winning the World Series, Vegas is giving the guys an 8/1 chance of their first title, tied with the Cubs.

Baltimore Orioles: 77 1/2 wins

The O's finished the 2017 season with 75 wins, which could be considered somewhat of an accomplishment considering their pitching resources.

The same problem will occur in 2018 as the organization hasn't signed any new starting pitchers. Vegas is giving them 50/1 odds of taking the American League title and 100/1 odds of winning the World Series.

The lack of depth in their rotation will come back to bite them as division rival New York Yankees have 5/1 odds of winning the World Series and the Red Sox have 10/1 odds.

A below average season should be expected.

A few other standouts, good and bad, include the Miami Marlins at 500/1 odds of winning the World Series, the Kansas City Royals at 200/1 and current champions, the Houston Astros, at 6/1 odds.


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Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine


Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine

SAN DIEGO — Former All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza has been arrested on suspicion of trafficking drugs after packages containing a white powder believed to be cocaine were found at a home he rented in Southern California, officials said Monday.

The 46-year-old former Major League Baseball player was booked Friday on charges involving the possession, transport and sale of 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of suspected cocaine worth an estimated $500,000, according to the San Diego Sheriff's Department.

Loaiza played for numerous teams between 1995 and 2008, starting with the Pittsburgh Pirates and concluding with his second stint with the Chicago White Sox. He had a 21-9 record with the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and started in the All-Star Game that year.


He also played one season for the Washington Nationals in 2005 — the team's inaugural season in D.C. after the franchise changed from the Montreal Expos. During his one season in Washington, Loaiza finished with a 12-10 record adn a 3.77 ERA over 34 games played that year.

It was not immediately known if Loaiza had hired a lawyer and the former player could not be reached to comment. He was being held Monday for lack of $200,000 bail pending a court appearance on Wednesday.

Loaiza's agent, John Boggs, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had no information about the arrest and that he has not spoken to Loaiza recently. He said that Loaiza had called his office early last week but Boggs was unavailable at the time.

"I am shocked and saddened by the news and had no indication he would ever be in this type of situation," Boggs said in a text to the newspaper. "I don't know how he would get himself involved in this, so it's difficult to even comment on it."

Officers stopped Loaiza for a minor traffic infraction Friday after he left the home he started renting recently in the Pacific coast community of Imperial Beach, along the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities had the vehicle under surveillance on suspicion it was used for smuggling drugs.

When they searched the vehicle, they found a sophisticated compartment used to conceal contraband, authorities said. That led them to obtain a search warrant for Loaiza's rental home, where they found the packages of drugs, according to investigators.

The packages containing a white powder are still being tested but are believed to be cocaine, said San Diego Sheriff's Lt. Jason Vickery.

Loaiza was born in Tijuana, Mexico and was married for two years to the late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera. She filed for divorce shortly before she died in a plane crash in 2012.

The 43-year-old Rivera was known as the "Diva de la Banda" and died as her career was peaking. She was perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated Mexico regional style, sold more than 15 million records, and moved into acting and reality television.

Loaiza sued the aircraft's owners in 2014 for wrongful death but her relatives accused him of trying to profit from her death. He denied the accusations and later retracted his lawsuit.

NBC Sports Washington contributed to this report.