Nationals manager Davey Martinez declined Monday to give a specific timeline on a potential return for starter Stephen Strasburg, who made a rehab start Sunday at Triple-A Rochester. The star pitcher has been on the injured list with inflammation in his throwing shoulder since April 18.
“Strasburg is here and he’s going to throw a bullpen tomorrow and then we’ll reassess him tomorrow but he feels fine,” Martinez said on a Zoom call. “He’s going to get a workout in today and then he’ll throw an extended bullpen tomorrow. [We will] try to get him up to 50-55 pitches, work on some mechanical stuff and then see how he feels after that.”
On Sunday, Strasburg threw 75 pitches over four and a third innings for the Red Wings. He allowed no runs on two hits and two walks with six strikeouts before meeting his pitch limit. Martinez indicated that the Nationals still intend to be cautious with him. Strasburg has made just four starts since the start of the 2020 season.
“I don’t want to be optimistic about anything right now,” Martinez said when asked whether he’s optimistic Strasburg could return this week. “I just wanna make sure that he’s completely healthy. So far, so good and, like I said, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”
Martinez has also yet to announce how the Nationals will handle Strasburg’s return to the rotation and who he might replace. Though he didn’t rule out a six-man rotation when asked last week, Martinez may have to decide between Erick Fedde (4.35 ERA in eight starts) and Joe Ross (5.80 ERA in seven starts).
Fedde is coming off the best start of his career Sunday, when he tossed seven scoreless in a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ross pitched Saturday and allowed eight runs over four innings.