Fresh off his 11-strikeout, zero-walk performance in his second minor league rehab game with Triple-A Syracuse, Stephen Strasburg showed up in the clubhouse at Nationals Park on Tuesday carrying his equipment bag. Teammates walked up to shake his hand and welcome him back, though when he will actually return officially has not been announced.
Strasburg's next step is a bullpen session on Wednesday. After that the Nats will be able to determine whether his next outing will be in the minor leagues or in the majors in Washington.
"I felt good. My stuff is there," Strasburg said of Monday night's game. "Just try to keep doing the same things and working on the stuff I've been doing. It's going in the right direction."
Strasburg, who has been on the disabled list since July 5 with a left oblique strain, has allowed five earned runs in 9 2/3 innings across two starts with Syracuse. More encouraging, however, is the fact he has 16 strikeouts to just one walk.
"When you have 11 strikeouts you’re doing something right," Matt Williams said. "It shows command for getting ahead in the count. We rely on the people that see him pitch, as well, beyond the stat sheet. Command for his breaking ball as there. Changeup off the fastball was there. And the fastball sat at 95, 96 and touched 98, so that’s all positive things for him moving forward. It means he’s feeling good and he’s got no apprehension letting the ball go."
Strasburg is 5-5 with a 5.16 ERA in 13 MLB starts this season. This is his second time on the disabled list. He went down in late May with a strained left trapezius and returned on June 23. He made three starts, allowing just two earned runs in 15 2/3 innings, before injuring his oblique.
Strasburg acknowledged his frustration with how this season has gone on Tuesday, but is hopeful he can turn his year around once he returns.
"I don't think anybody's going to be happy with it, but you just gotta try to pull from the positives. I think I've grown a lot from it and I'll continue to do that," he said. "I want to go out there and help this team win some games."