Stephen Strasburg is dealing with right forearm tightness, according to Manager Davey Johnson, potentially a reason his command wavered in Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Strasburg was evaluated by medical staff following the game and was set to be given medication to help alleviate the discomfort. Johnson said it was too early to tell if Strasburg would miss his next scheduled start.
Strasburg, however, said following the game in which he walked four batters and threw nearly 43 percent of his pitches for balls that he felt fine on the mound and that his issues were mechanical. “I’m not going to miss my next start, I’ll tell you that now,” he said.
Asked specifically about his forearm, he didn’t answer answer directly and was bugged by repeated questions relating to the issue. ”I felt good out there (Monday),” he said. “Just battling through commanding the fastball, commanding offspeed, it was just one of those days.”
In the first inning, Strasburg fell behind on four of the five batters and even hit home plate umpire Laz Diaz with a wayward pitch in the first at-bat. He said his control issues — four walks — were because he was ”pulling the ball,” he said. “Can’t really say why I’m having a tough time right now in the first inning, but I am. Just got to keep grinding and I’ll figure it out.”
Johnson said he noticed Strasburg’s command off more than normal and the forearm tightness was why he didn’t let Strasburg pitch past the sixth inning after he hit 93 pitches. Strasburg also shook his right arm between pitches, a practice he used to do on the mound in previous seasons but less so recently.
“Just trying to stay loose and stuff,” Strasburg said. “Look at any pitcher. It’s not like they’re standing out there like robots. Everybody’s going to be trying to stay loose.”
The Nationals have been historically cautious with Strasburg, 24, their prized pitching prospect who underwent a well-documented Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2010.
“Hopefully it’s nothing more than maybe a little tired arm or something,” Johnson said.