Stephen Strasburg suffered a Grade 1 lat strain Friday, not a strained oblique as the Nationals initially indicated, Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz said tonight.
Kuntz said the muscular injury occurred in the lower right section of Strasburg’s back, where the oblique and lat are close to one another. The proximity of the muscles, Kuntz said, led him to believe Strasburg had strained an oblique before an MRI revealed it was his lat muscle.
The recovery time for a lat strain can vary. The Nationals have not ruled out Strasburg making his next start, and Strasburg said he feels he could have kept pitching Friday night when Manager Davey Johnson pulled him after two innings.
“We’re going to wait and see how he feels,” Kuntz said. “We’re going to treat it right now and play it by ear.”
Pitchers tend to recover from lat strains more quickly than oblique strains, but Strasburg may still be at risk of missing a handful of starts. This spring training, Cubs starter Matt Garza and Rangers relievers Kyle McLellan both suffered lat strains and missed three to four weeks. Earlier this season, Reds ace Johnny Cueto landed on the disabled list for more than a month with a lat strain. Since Strasburg suffered a Grade 1 strain, the least severe classification, his return could be faster.