Stephen Strasburg will make a rehab start Wednesday afternoon for Class AA Harrisburg, his first game appearance since going on the disabled list two weeks ago with a strained left trapezius muscle.
Strasburg is slated to pitch in Harrisburg against Richmond at noon Wednesday, the Senators announced.
This rehab assignment comes after Strasburg threw 60 pitches to live hitters in a simulated game in Milwaukee on Friday, reporting no problems with his neck or upper back, which had been given him problems over the last month.
If Strasburg is able to build up to roughly 75 pitches in Harrisburg with no discomfort, the Nationals could deem him ready to return to their rotation after only one rehab start. The club won’t make that decision, though, until seeing how he responds to pitching at full velocity in a game situation, the only situations to date that have caused him discomfort.
[MORE NATIONALS Notes on Scherzer's career day, one of the best in Nats history]
After suffering an ankle sprain in spring training that forced him to alter his mechanics, Strasburg endured through an erratic April to begin his season. He then battled through the first prolonged struggle of his career in May, going 1-3 with a 10.13 ERA in five starts. In four of those outings, he failed to complete four innings, in part due to the neck/back discomfort.
Strasburg’s final start, May 29 in Cincinnati, lasted only one inning and 16 pitches, finally prompting the Nationals to place him on the disabled list with what was diagnosed as a strained left trapezius muscle. He has worked with pitching coach Steve McCatty since on improving his mechanics, most notably adjusting his landing spot as he throws pitches off the mound.
Bring out the powder blues!
In the decade and a half since the Nationals franchise relocated from Montreal to Washington, D.C. in 2005, the Nationals have only worn throwback uniforms honoring the Washington Senators, who played in the Nation's Capitol from 1901-1960 before the franchise moved to Minnesota and became the current Minnesota Twins. They have not once worn any Expos throwbacks.
That all changes on July 6, when the Nationals will sport the signature Montreal Expos powder blue uniforms against the Kansas City Royals as the Nationals celebrate the franchise's 50th anniversary, according to the Washington Post.
The uniform features powder blue jerseys and pants, with the tri-color red, white, and blue signature Expos cap.
The Royals will also be donning throwback uniforms from their inaugural 1969 season, taking the field in their original road grey uniforms with a cursive "Kansas City" across their chest in Royal blue.
The Nationals are honoring the Expos in more ways than just sporting their old uniforms. Nationals Park will also be going through a makeover, as the Expos 'M' will replace the Nationals 'Curly W' across the park for the afternoon. Additionally, concessions will offer traditional Canadian food, such as poutine, Montreal smoked brisket sandwiches and more.
Expos legend Vladimir Guerrero will also be in attendance. Other members of the Nationals, such as manager Dave Martinez, third base coach Bob Henley, and MASN broadcaster F.P. Santangelo will be honored for their contributions to the Expos as well.
July 6 should be an exciting day at Nationals Park.
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It's no secret that Max Scherzer has been having the best month of his career. As whispers of a fourth Cy Young begin following his commanding starts this season, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo joined the chorus.
"We're seeing something from a major league pitcher that we’re very fortunate because we get to see this every fifth day and this is historical stuff," Rizzo said on The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "This is one of the great pitchers of our time and a hall of fame caliber guy and a guy who leaves it on the mound each and every day."
To add to his dominant June, Scherzer allowed only one run and recorded 10 strikeouts over eight innings in the Nationals' 6-1 win over the Miami Marlins Tuesday night.
"He wills himself to win and he wills himself to go the extra inning, the extra pitch," Rizzo said.
Many are calling Scherzer's consistent greatness this month the most dominant time of his career. According to NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas, the only month in his career that comes close to his June 2019 dominance is June 2017, when Scherzer boasted a 0.99 ERA, pitched 36 ⅓ innings, recorded 51 strikeouts, six walks, and a 0.55 WHIP. This June, Scherzer has more strikeouts and a lower ERA.
"He's one of the best pitchers in the league," Rizzo said. "Day in and day out, start in and start out, he gives you an opportunity to win, he gives you his best, he leaves everything on the mound each and every time."
Scherzer has one more start left this month against the Detroit Tigers, the three-day series in Detroit beginning Friday. Until then, Scherzer can rest his arm with two remaining games in the three-game series with the Marlins Wednesday and Thursday at 7:10 p.m.
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