Prepare yourselves for a huge shock: Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg left his start Friday night against the Atlanta Braves with yet another injury. The Nats’ ace reportedly strained an oblique muscle and is likely headed to the disabled list as a result. As we’ve said many times on this here website, no one should be surprised by a development like this.
Strasburg lasted just two innings on Friday, which was the shortest start of his career. After throwing a change-up to Braves catcher Brian McCann, he grimaced and was in visible discomfort. That came with one out in the second inning. He retired McCann on a grounder, then struck out Dan Uggla to end the inning and Craig Stammen replaced him to begin the third inning.
The Nationals won the game 3-2.
Strasburg’s herky-jerky delivery puts so much strain on his body that unless something changes he’ll spend a serious amount of time on the disabled list during his career. On April 29 against the Braves, Strasburg also left a start after six inning thanks to forearm tightness.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery in September of 2010 he missed almost all of the 2011 campaign. Following his elbow surgery we had hoped for Strasburg’s sake that he would alter his delivery somewhat to ease the strain it puts on his body. Unfortunately the Nationals have yet to insist he does so.
In his short, four-year career, Strasburg has dealt with inflammation in his right shoulder a number of times, forearm and biceps tightness and a few back and muscle issues. Something has to change.
So far on the 2013 season, Strasburg has a 3-5 record, with a 2.54 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He has thrown 74.1 innings over 12 starts. Strasburg’s last three starts had been excellent after a shaky beginning of the season.
Still, it’s obvious that Strasburg’s delivery is far too taxing on his body and something needs to change if the No. 1 pick from the 2009 MLB Draft wants to have a long career.