BALTIMORE — Stephen Strasburg's recent drop off has been so uncharacteristic that it seemed more than plausible that the he may have been dealing with some undisclosed injury. After all, the right hander went 0-3 with a 14.66 ERA in just 11 2/3 innings of work, including last Wednesday’s career-worst outing in Colorado.
And as it turns out, something was up. The Nationals announced Monday that they placed Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow soreness. The news was particularly concerning at first, especially considering that it was the 28-year-old’s first arm-related injury since undergoing Tommy John Surgery back in 2010.
But in his meeting with reporters before Monday's game against the Baltimore Orioles, he said the move was strictly precautionary.
“I wanted to go out there and give it a go,” said Strasburg, who was scheduled to make his first career start Monday in Camden Yards. “…They thought it was [in my] best interest to kind of let it recover now instead of trying to just gut it out and essentially not be available later on.”
Strasburg revealed that he had been dealing with range of motion issues since the All-Star break, and that his recovery between starts was becoming increasingly difficult. However, he maintains that those issues had not affected him in his starts.
As a Tommy John survivor, Strasburg also mentioned that he continues to learn how to maintain his arm throughout the season. With this latest DL stint, that could include more flexibility training to augment his weight lifting.
"Your arm works a little bit differently when you do have a surgery like that,” Strasburg said. “I had it when I was young, so I think my body just physically was a little bit in a different spot….I am 28 now, so [I'm] probably not gonna be getting any stronger."
The hope is that Strasburg will be able to rest the arm in the next few days, and return in time for the Nats' stretch run before the postseason.
“I'm just gonna listen to the training staff," he said, "and hopefully we'll get me back out there feeling good sooner rather than later.”