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Stephen Strasburg headed to 15-day disabled list

The Nationals will place Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list tonight with a strained flexor tendon in his right forearm after reviewing results from an MRI exam, but they are still waiting on results from a second, more advanced MRI exam to be taken in the coming days before concluding if he will pitch again this season.

Strasburg, the phenom whose dominance helped define this baseball season, returns to the disabled list just 13 days after he came off of it with inflammation in his right shoulder.

"I think that he's anxious to find out what's going on," General Manager Mike Rizzo said. "He felt good today. His elbow felt good. To say he's a little anxious, a little emotional would be fair to say."

Strasburg will receive an arthrogam, an MRI test that involves shooting dye into the specified area in order to receive a more detailed look at the injury. "To get more information," Rizzo said. "It's a much more intricate MRI. For us to do it in 72 hours, it gives us a chance for it to calm down, for the swelling to go down so we can get a real good picture of it."

On Thursday, Jordan Zimmermann - who has not pitched since last July because of Tommy John surgery - will replace Strasburg in the rotation Thursday.

The Nationals have yet to determine Strasburg's future. On Saturday night, after Strasburg damaged the tendon throwing a single changeup, they received some indication he may not be seriously hurt.

"When the doctor looked at him in Philadelphia, he was holding his arm and moving him around," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "He said, 'He's fine. He'll be pitching in five days.' So, you know, the MRI is less conclusive that he would be pitching in five days, so we're putting him on the DL.'"

Strasburg actually arrived at Nationals Park today hoping to play catch and continue his usual routine, Rizzo said. On Sunday, the morning after his injury, Strasburg played light catch.

Strasburg incurred an injury similar to what John Lannan endured earlier this season. Lannan threw one pitch - a changeup - and felt a "pop" in his forearm, he said.

"The changeup, you don't realize sometimes, when you throw it, you pronate," Lannan said, demonstrating by twisting his arm so his palm faced away from his body. "It puts pressure on the tendon that runs down and connects to your elbow. I can feel it. It's tight. You put a lot of pressure on it, especially Strasburg throwing a 92-mile-per-hour changeup."

The difference between the two pitchers - and, presumably, the amount of strain a changeup would cause - is how much velocity they throw with. Lannan averaged 82.9 miles per hour with his changeup this season, according to Strasburg averaged 89.7 on his.

Lannan tried to pitch through his injury but, "my arm after that wasn't the same," he said. He received a cortisone shot, skipped a start and began pitching again. He felt healthy, but started to develop bad habits while trying to make the tendon injury comfortable during his delivery. The good news, he said, was that he returned to full health in relatively short order, never spending time on the disabled list.

"It happened out of nowhere," Lannan said. "I don't know anything about what's going on with him, but we talked about it the day it happened. It happened on the same pitch I did. What he explained was similar. He felt, like, a tightness. I felt a pop. It was in the same area. Hopefully, that's what it is."

Until the Nationals receive the results from the latest medical tests on their best young player and most valuable asset, everyone involved will have to worry and wait.

"It's discouraging for Stephen," Riggleman said. "I think with all the pitchers, really, the workload we put on them, you hold your breath when you're pitching. It seems like the veteran guys -- although Marquis has had a couple issues this year -- it just seems like pitchers get to a point where they're past all the issues. Guys like Livan and Miguel. You see others. In the early part of their career -- we had it last with Jordan, and Stephen is going through a couple things right now. Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be extremely serious. Regardless, there's a couple red flags. It just seems like it's the way it goes with these young pitchers."

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 23, 2010; 6:50 PM ET
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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Funny to put him on the 15-man, where there's no roster relief. I guess it's being semi-cautious, no?

Also, I'm pretty much done with the Early Lead blog. I get what they're trying to do, and I like Cindy Boren. But try as they might, it just ain't working.

Posted by: JohninMpls | August 23, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

No way the Nats put Strasburg on the 15-day DL and then have him make 3-4 starts in September when's he ready. More likely they activate Zimmerman to take his slot in the rotation for the rest of the seasona assuming all is well. I think the Nats have found that Strasburg needs to continue to build arm strength to pitch 150+ innining in the ML. Fortunately, both of these injuries appear minor but they indicate his arm wasn't ready for this many innings at his age.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 23, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Alright, welcome back Jordan Zimmermann...

Posted by: bromisky | August 23, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Funny that Rigs is the spokesman. Weren't we supposed to get a PC from Rizzo with mucho details, or was that just my assumption?

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | August 23, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

If he's hurt, shut him down. I'm all for that.

But what do the Nats need to do to build him up so that he can get through a whole season and handle an MLB level workload?

Posted by: comish4lif | August 23, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Does Strasburg ice his arm after every start? I have never seen him do it, and as J Zimnn can attest, failing to do that can lead to issues. The reason I ask is tha I just saw a re-broadcast of SS's first start, and during his interview about 10 minutes after the game his arm was not wrapped. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had never seen him ice his arm. But of course, I have not seen every post-game interview, he may have already iced it, etc.

So Mr. Kilgore, does he or doesn't he ice his arm? The people (or at least one of them) want(s) to know.

Posted by: ehay2k | August 23, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

If you're a fan, it will be nice to at least see JZ back, which was going to happen regardless of Strasburg's situation. Big lift for next year if he looks good the rest of the way...

Posted by: CJArlington | August 23, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

>But what do the Nats need to do to build him up so that he can get through a whole season and handle an MLB level workload?

Posted by: comish4lif

Change his delivery. The sooner they admit that, the better off they'll be.

Posted by: Brue | August 23, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a good feeling about this.

I hear "forearm" and I think, "John Patterson."

I know, they say it's happened before, and it's linked to his changeup, etc etc.

But still . . .

Can't we ever catch a break? Can't we have something to be excited about for more than a couple of weeks?

If Strasburg is shut down now (as I believe he should be), instead of excitement being carried into 2011 there are anxieties: Will Strasburg be healthy? Marquis? Zimmermann? Detwiler (whose performance so far has underwhelmed)? Olsen?

2010 was supposed to be the transitional year, and 2011 the year when the team would explode with all the new pitching talent. Now, it's a big maybe.

Very, very disappointing.

Posted by: Meridian1 | August 23, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

"Change his delivery. The sooner they admit that, the better off they'll be."

They tried that with Detwiler and it didn't work. He could also lose some of the velocity on his pitches ... perhaps they need to hire some better expertise in this area?

Posted by: periculum | August 23, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

All of the experts who said that Strasburg would have arm problems blamed it on the "inverted W" he forms in his windup, which was the same thing Mark Prior did, which is why Brue is saying, "Change his motion."

Here's my question: are these the only two guys ever to pitch with an "inverted W?" Nobody else has ever pitched this way in the history of baseball and stayed healthy? Wouldn't it be good to know that before we talk about him changing his motion?

Posted by: baltova1 | August 23, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Also, Inverted W leads to shoulder problems, not elbow/forearm problems.

Posted by: Section406 | August 23, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"Does Strasburg ice his arm after every start? I have never seen him do it, and as J Zimnn can attest, failing to do that can lead to issues."

Yes he ices his arm. He's appeared in the postgame press conferences wearing the icing sling. If you've never seen it, you weren't watching.

Posted by: nunof1 | August 23, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Slowes already practicing his "Another inverted in the books!" call.

Posted by: nunof1 | August 23, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

What were the results from the MRI?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | August 23, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

ESPN is reporting he's getting another MRI...

Posted by: CJArlington | August 23, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

DC is cursed

Posted by: DCFanatic | August 23, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse


I used to believe the bullcrap fed to us that the vast majority of them are honest, decent, and cared only about doing right.

I stopped believing that years ago and I know without question that the opposite is true.

Posted by: kase | August 23, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

>Also, Inverted W leads to shoulder problems, not elbow/forearm problems.

Posted by: Section406

I don't know who told you that, but the way he bunches his arm up puts an inordinate amount of strain on the elbow too. Part of the problem may be the fact that he's throwing screwballs in the same at-bat that he's throwing a knee-buckling curve. Two opposite actions on the arm. His motion should be a lot easier and fluid. He might lose a couple of mph, but he'll gain it back once he gets used to throwing the right way. His legs are too powerful for him to lose much velocity - that's where it comes from in the first place. Another reason why Detwiler is a failure - his legs are like toothpicks and he doesn't get any drive. I said it last year when they drafted Stras, and now it's happening - if he doesn't extend his arm, he will continue to be in trouble. And then he will have surgery. And then he may or may not make it back.

Posted by: Brue | August 23, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

DC is cursed
Posted by: DCFanatic
You're absolutely right.

But at least we get a lot of laughs from the complete jerks who keep backing the perennially losing Foreskins. Year after year after year after year. Bwaaaahaaaa

Posted by: checkered1 | August 23, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Re: Strasburg

Why is he breaking down so early? And what to do about it if he is to become a stalwart or a fragile jewel?

BODY? Then get him the world's best yoga guru/spiritualist. Or the best masseuse on the planet. Whatever. Then lock them all inside the clubhouse before every start.

MIND? Nothing wrong there. SS is a stud. Anyone observing SS can easily see the kid has NO lack of confidence.
But Nats mgmt. MUST STOP babying him! Sure, no one wants another Pryor/Woods, but a pitcher grows physically stronger only after learning how to work thru pain/injury.
Let him find out his body's limitations. Only YOU can tell others what YOUR body can/cannot do.
(BTW: and if Mgmt. isn't careful, his teammates will soon grow resentful if it becomes apparent that Mgmt. has a set of health rules for SS and a set of health rules for everybody else.

Let the Kid sink or swim. Do or die.
I think Mgmt. is unintentionally turning him into something he himself finds fundamentally embarrassing.
This, more than injuries, could have a more negative impact on his career.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | August 23, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

brb, checking phase of the moon

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 23, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

just as I thought. Full tomorrow.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 23, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

As addendum to previous post:

Notice no mention was made of MacFatty's or Riggleman's coaching.

That would be akin to asking a Paint-By-Numbers expert to counsel Picasso.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | August 23, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

But, nice interview with Lannan, Adam. Interesting insights to the mechanics.

Completely out of my depth here, but I wonder if exercises specifically to stretch out that tendon would help, or diminish his ability to get the proper spin on the ball?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 23, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't care if the Nats have to bring up "Howdy Doody" to pitch! If they keep losing and become perennial "cellar dwellers" (think Pirates), the Lerners, Kasten, and Rizzo will have a lot more to worry about, like seeing no one in the stands! Ya gotta start winning, Nats, to keep our interest! Your 6-year rebuilding program is over!

Posted by: blufre | August 23, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

1stBaseCoach, you're impatient and wrong. Sink-or-swim, do-or-die is great, but not on a kid. Like Boz (and others) have said, wait until SS is 24 before the kid gloves come off. You throw a 3-year-old in a pool, all you get is sink and die.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | August 23, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Call me an optimist, but I think he'll be fine. Maybe the rigors of throwing that hard on a 5 day routine put some different stress on his arm? But he did say that he's felt that forearm soreness before. Hopefully the doctors, trainers and coaches can work with him to find the root of the problem. Maybe it's the change up, who knows, but I'll stay positive for now.

Posted by: Kev29 | August 23, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

You throw a 3-year-old in a pool, all you get is sink and die.

Posted by: spunkydawg1

I'm not being hateful, and i say this with a smile, but calling SS a 3 year old is like calling Michael Phelps a 3 year old.
These guys are phenoms and don't play by established rules.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | August 23, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Someone commented on essentially the same article on ESPN and made the case that Strasburg should have been left in Triple-A this year, out of the limelight and the hype while he ironed out the kinks and built up his durability. Unfortunately for Strasburg, due to all the hype, I believe the general baseball public will have huge expectations for him next year to pitch a complete season like a real starter and pitch extremely well at that. I'm just not sure how he's going to get to that point by next year given where he is now. I blame most of this on the buffoonery shown by the Nats management in the way they "handled" him like no other pitcher in history, willingly soaked up all the associated marketing PR, and yet set him up for a nearly impossible set of circumstances to live up to.

Posted by: ralphwilliams1 | August 23, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't care if the Nats have to bring up "Howdy Doody" to pitch! If they keep losing and become perennial "cellar dwellers" (think Pirates), the Lerners, Kasten, and Rizzo will have a lot more to worry about, like seeing no one in the stands!
Posted by: blufre

Here's a dirty little secret for you. They're all making money. See below.

>>Financial records show Pirates win while losing

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Don't feel too sorry for the cellar-dwelling Pittsburgh Pirates. Losing has been profitable.

The Pirates made nearly $29.4 million in 2007 and 2008, according to team financial documents, years that were part of a streak of futility that has now reached 18 straight losing seasons. The team's ownership also paid its partners $20.4 million in 2008.

The documents offer a rare peek inside a team that made money by getting slightly less than half its income (about $70 million) from MLB sources - including revenue sharing, network TV, major league merchandise sales and MLB's website. The team also held down costs, keeping player salaries near the bottom of the National League, shedding pricier talent and hoping that untested prospects would blossom.

The club's earnings were included in nearly 40 pages of statements that the Pirates submitted to Major League Baseball and were recently obtained by The Associated Press. Team officials briefed local reporters on portions of the material Sunday. The AP wasn't invited to the session, which owner Bob Nutting said was "aimed at the recent leak.''

"The numbers indicate why people are suspecting they're taking money from baseball and keeping it - they don't spend it on the players,'' said David Berri, president of the North American Association of Sports Economists and the author of two books detailing the relationship between finances and winning. "Teams have a choice. They can seek to maximize winning, what the Yankees do, or you can be the Pirates and make as much money as you can in your market. The Pirates aren't trying to win.''

Posted by: Brue | August 23, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

The sky is not falling.

Strasburg has pitched more innings between the minors and the big leagues this year than any year in college, also he is coming off the Arizona instructional league. The guys arm is just warn out from being worked harder than ever before.

Shut him down for the year so he does not do any real damage to his arm, but as for now the guy is just warn out.

Everyone take a deep breath and get excited about seeing JZimm back.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | August 23, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

"These guys are phenoms and don't play by established rules."

1BC, their arms play by the rules of nature. Flaunt those at your own peril.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | August 23, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I must have missed something. The story noted that "Strasburg, the phenom whose dominance helped define this baseball season, returns to the disabled list just 13 days after he came off of it with inflammation in his right shoulder."

His dominance helped define this baseball season? Other than he's got a great strike-out rate and ration, and he's put people in seats because of his perceived ability, I don't see that he's helped "define this baseball season." While he has potential and the offense hasn't necessarily supported him, I would simply say he's done pretty or very good for a rookie, one who's only played part of the season at the Major League level; nothing more than that yet.

Posted by: Dungarees | August 23, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

This may be picky (and I know this is a business), but I really don't like seeing the word "asset" used in reference to Strasburg. Very impersonal and almost negates the fact that this is a person we are discussing here.

Posted by: TimDz | August 23, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

In case you were wondering what Dibble couldn't manage to google: good story

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 23, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to ask how you know that...
You throw a 3-year-old in a pool, all you get is sink and die.
Posted by: spunkydawg1

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 23, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

You throw a 3-year-old in a pool, all you get is sink and die.
I'm not going to ask how you know that...

Luckily we had a spare.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | August 23, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Is this the future?
September 2010: Strasburg shut down for remainder of season after series of “freakish” injuries. Mike Rizzo stated, “We’re not sure if it’s a curse or just bad luck.” We have decided to shut him down and plan on sending him to the best voodoo expert, clairvoyant and best exorcist in town, although we will probably have to send him to New Orleans or some other such place.” Strasburg refused comment.

June 2011: Strasburg was placed on the 15 day disabled list after suffering what was termed as an abdominal strain. While the MRI was negative and actually indicated that Stephen made an ill-advised trip to Bens Chili Bowl between innings of last night’s game for chili-cheese fries. Rizzo stated, “We need to be cautious here. I mean, we can’t have him making a mess on the mound due to gastric distress. Mr. Lerner doesn’t want to pay a cleaning bill for THAT.” Strasburg, when asked for a comment, was silent (although some flatulence was heard as he walked away).

July 2011: Stephen Strasburg, recently reinstated by the team from the 15 day DL, was returned to the DL, retroactive to July 4th, when he burned his finger as a result of what Rizzo termed, “A rogue sparkler” at the teams Independence day celebration. Rizzo appeared dismayed as he later found out that Strasburg did not wear the protective, fire resistant Gortex ™ gloves that the team provided. Strasburg was unavailable for comment.
September 2011: The Washington Nationals released a statement announcing that Stephen Strasburg will again be shut down early this year, after he witnessed an auto accident on South Capitol Street following last night’s game. Mike Rizzo, in the press conference, stated, “Look, car accidents are traumatic. We’re going to send Stephen to the best psychiatrists and psychologists in the area. PTSD is our primary concern here. Stephen remains a valuable asset on this team and we need to act conservatively. Strasburg was not made available for comment, as Rizzo was concerned over possible questioning that could “send him over the edge.” Taking his place in the pitching rotation will be Livan Hernandez, whom the Nats signed despite having recently broken his pitching hand (he allegedly punched his golf cart after shanking a 4-iron while attempting to qualify for the US Open). When asked how Livo was going to pitch,
Rizzo replied, “He’s got TWO arms, right?”

April 2012: The Nationals announced that Stephen Strasburg will begin the season on the 60 Day Disabled list, as he has demonstrated what the team termed as “Sympathy Pregnancy Symptoms.” As his wife prepares to give birth to their first child, Stephen was observed being overly emotional during a recent Spring Training game in response to not getting a call by the umpire on an inside pitch. He was overheard shouting, “You just don’t understand me…” Upon leaving the game, Strasburg was spotted eating a jar of sweet gherkins with a bowl of Rocky Road Ice Cream.

Posted by: TimDz | August 24, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

owooooo-ooo-ooo!! :-D


just as I thought. Full tomorrow.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 23, 2010 6:55 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 24, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

It was interesting to hear what Lannan thinks happens to put him off-track. I thought it was just one of those mysterious collapses that happens in baseball, but he has a rational explanation. Hope he's right and he's past it. Such a good guy.

Posted by: markfromark | August 24, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

To bad about SS. Matt Chico is having a solid year in AAA, pitched a great game for the Nats in May, and is a workhorse as shown in 2007. He needs and deserves a shot to replace some very questionable pitchers currently in the rotation. He would be a great add to the team!

Posted by: clinton56 | August 24, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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