The Washington Nationals have activated star pitcher Stephen Strasburg from the disabled list. He will start Sunday afternoon for the Nats vs the Indians. Strasburg has missed the last couple weeks with a latissimus muscle strain.
Before the injury, Strasburg has been his usual dominant self this season with 73 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings this year. He also has a 2.54 ERA and 1.06 WHIP through 12 starts. Unfortunately a lack of run support has led to Strasburg having a 3-5 record on the year.
Last season Strasburg went 15-6, with 197 strikeouts in 159 1/3 innings, pitched, a 3.16 ERA, and a 1.15 WHIP as the Nationals ran away with the division. He was shut down for the end of the year and playoffs though as the Nationals wanted him on an innings limit just one year after Tommy John Surgery. The decision was controversial, to say the least.
Strasburg has been rehabbing by throwing a 56 pitch simulated game on Tuesday, and a bullpen session on Thursday. Following his strong performances, and lack of discomfort in the two sessions he was cleared by doctors and trainers to return to the lineup.
“It gives me a little more comfort feeling,” Nationals Manager Johnson said. “[Rookie call-up] Nathan Karns pitched pretty good for a youngster but you can’t hardly replace a Detwiler or a Strasburg.”
The Nationals have also been without starter Ross Detwiler, who has also been on the disabled list. He is expected to return and start on Thursday, giving the Nationals their complete 5 man unit, back and healthy.
The Nationals are 34-33 on the season and sit in 2nd place in the NL East. They sit 5.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the division, and 5.5 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card Standings. A return to form from their ace Strasburg would be a welcome addition as they attempt to gain ground in the playoff chase. Even though its only June, a team never wants to fall too far behind its rivals.
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Photo Credit: 2ND & MissChatter, Wiki Commons, CC