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."
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