Exactly one year ago this Sunday, Stephen Strasburg threw a change-up to Philadelphia Phillies right-fielder Domonic Brown, a pitch that would force him to grimace in pain, leave the game and eventually lead to Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm.
This Monday, the 23-year old starter who captivated this area with his rookie season is scheduled to make his fourth minor league rehabilitation start, this time for Class A Hagerstown Suns. It’s another step in Strasburg’s promising return to the major leagues.
Keeping with his carefully crafted rehab schedule, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said Strasburg will pitch four innings or throw 65 pitches, whichever comes first. Strasburg, pitching for the third time for the Suns, will face the Hickory Crawdads, an affiliate of the
Pittsburgh Pirates Texas Rangers.
After showing plenty of promise and flashes of his old, dominating self in his first two starts, Strasburg was roughed up by the Lexington Legends in Hagerstown on Wednesday. He allowed four hits, five earned runs and recorded only five outs.
If Strasburg continues to pitch every five days, he would make his next rehab start on Aug. 27. Nationals officials have said they hoped Strasburg could seamlessly take starter Jordan Zimmermann’s spot in the rotation once he is shut down this season and appear in the major leagues in early September.
On Sunday, Strasburg was at Nationals Park, throwing and working out under the eyes of the team’s staff. He threw a bullpen session on Saturday. And as reporters clammored into the locker room, Strasburg walked out, his sweatshirt hood on over his head and a big baseball bag of equipment slung over his shoulder. Presumably, off to Hagerstown soon.