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Stephen Strasburg ruled out for NLCS, throws bullpen session

Stephen Strasburg ruled out for NLCS, throws bullpen session

All-Star pitcher Stephen Strasburg will not be ready for the NL Championship Series, if the Nationals are to advance that far, manager Dusty Baker announced on Thursday ahead of Game 5 of the NLDS.

The Nationals previously expressed hope he would be ready. But that was before he hit a roadblock in his recovery.

"[The rehab] is never as fast as you would like. But he won't be available for the next series. It would be a miracle if he did," Baker said.

"You look at the calendar and just the math doesn't work out. He's not stretched out and prepared to take on such an important game," General manager Mike Rizzo said.

Baker and Rizzo confirmed what was suspected by most following Strasburg's recent setback. While throwing a bullpen session to test his right flexor mass strain earlier in the week, Strasburg felt discomfort in his elbow. He was slated to throw 35 pitches, but was stopped at around 30 because of the pain.

Strasburg threw a bullpen session at Nationals Park moments after Baker broke the news. He worked under the watchful eye of pitching coach Mike Maddux.

That is certainly good news. It could mean he will be available if the Nats make it all the way to the World Series. At the very least, it confirms that his setback was not a major one.

Rizzo expressed hope he can still line up for a potential return.

"Nothing's changed. He's still on his return-to-throw program," Rizzo said. "We're trying to build him up to see where he's at. We're certainly not going to rush him into doing something that he's incapable of doing. He is on his return-to-throw program and he's following the protocol that our doctors and trainers gave him."

Strasburg, 28, has been sidelined since Sept. 7 when he suffered the injury during a start against the Atlanta Braves. He underwent an MRI the following day, which determined his flexor strain.

The test confirmed his UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) was intact. Strasburg had the ligament repaired in 2010 when he underwent Tommy Surgery.

[RELATED: Former Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez to throw out Game 5 1st pitch]

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. 

Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.

Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.

The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.

Only the Marlins have had as many.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."

"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand." 

The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.

RELATED: BRYCE HARPER THANKS NATIONALS' FANS FOR SUPPORT

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news. 

Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report. 

Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:

"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."

"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.

RELATED: HARPER THANKS FANS FOR SUPPORT