It's not looking good for starter Stephen Strasburg to be ready to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series next week, according to Nats general manager Mike Rizzo.
The Nats right-hander has been throwing off flat ground as part of his recovery from a right flexor mass strain. But he's running out of time with just over a week to go until Game 1.
"I think it would be kind of pushing it. I think that's fair to say," Rizzo said. With the calendar, it's unlikely that he will contribute in that first series."
Strasburg hasn't pitched since Sept. 7 when he sustained the injury in a game against the Atlanta Braves. It was his first start back off the disabled list after he dealt with right elbow soreness.
Strasburg, 28, made the All-Star team this season and is 15-4 with a 3.60 ERA in 24 starts. Without him, the Nationals will rely heavily on Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark in Games 1 and 2. Game 3 will likely go to either Gio Gonzalez or Joe Ross. The Nats have not determined whether Scherzer will pitch on short rest, but it does not sound like they are inclined to ask him to.
Manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday it would not be his preference.
“I’d like not to do that on short rest because then what’s going to happen next round and the next round? He’s going to be on super short and then you’re risking injury. The other guys got to do their job," Baker said. "You can’t go to short rest on Max, to me, unless it’s just a dire emergency until late in the playoffs."
If the Nats are to advance to the NLCS, Game 1 would be on Oct. 15.
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