WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are holding out hope for Stephen Strasburg. They have little choice.
Strasburg was scratched from his Saturday start because of a right wrist impingement which created a nerve problem in his hand. Strasburg said he did not have proper feel for his pitches, as well as ongoing irritation in the hand. He received a cortisone injection Friday, began to feel better Saturday and could play catch Monday.
Sunday, Davey Martinez said they are working under the impression Strasburg could miss only one start.
“He’s getting better,” Martinez said. “...Right now, we’ll take it day-by-day. We’re hoping that by his next start, he can make that start. But only time will tell at this point. We got to get him back. The quicker we get him back, the better we’re going to be. With that being said, we’ve got to really make sure we take care of him, as well. There’s other complications if we push him back too early. If he’s not feeling right, we don’t want this to become something wrong with his forearm or shoulder because he’s trying to compensate.”
Strasburg’s next start would be Thursday against Toronto. That game will be played in Nationals Park with Washington operating as the visiting team. If he is not ready to pitch, Erick Fedde will again take his place. The 60-game season means only 12 starts are available to each regular rotation pitcher. Strasburg missing his first start means he’s already missed eight percent of the season.
The Nationals also continue to wait on Juan Soto. He re-entered quarantine Thursday. As of 11 a.m. Sunday, the team did not have any test results for Soto from the Major League Baseball lab in Salt Lake City. Soto needs two negative tests 24 hours apart, to be asymptomatic for at least 72 hours, complete at least one antibody test following the positive diagnosis, undergo a cardiac evaluation from a team physician, and receive an assessment from a team physician that Soto no longer presents a risk of infection to others and is healthy enough to return to the field.
Soto spent the majority of Summer Camp in a two-week quarantine. He was rushing to get back once he returned July 17, only to have that path stalled by a positive test less than a week later.
“It’s definitely concerning,” Martinez said of the missed time. “We tried to push him to get as many at-bats as he possibly can when he missed so much time. Got him up to 20-something at-bats, and now all of a sudden, we kind of got to start over with him -- which stinks a little bit. Hopefully, it won’t take him as long.”
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