Stephen Strasburg exits early after rain, could start Sunday

Stephen Strasburg

John McDonnell/WP

As Stephen Strasburg walked toward the plate to bat in the bottom of the second, the sky opened and it started pouring. The pitcher Davey Johnson once called a “mudder” would have yet another start halted by rain.

“I just expect it every time,” Strasburg said. “Some crazy weather is going on every time I pitch.”

Strasburg lasted only two innings in the Nationals’ 4-3 win over the Marlins because of a 78-minute rain delay in the bottom of the second. Manager Davey Johnson said he never lets a start go back to the mound after an hour delay, and Strasburg felt some minor back stiffness to boot.

“I think once you get past 45 minutes to an hour, your body really starts to get a little tight,” Strasburg said. “It’s just unfortunate. I thought I was going to be able to get back out there, especially when it stopped raining. I guess they weren’t able to get everything ready to go.”

Strasburg threw only 22 pitches in two scoreless innings, allowing a walk and no hits. Johnson did not rule out bringing Strasburg back Sunday on three days of rest. In that scenario, he would pitch in the place of either Tanner Roark or Ross Ohlendorf.

“We’ll see how he is tomorrow and the next day, but he could come back Sunday,” Johnson said. “So we’ll just have to see how we get through tomorrow and the next day.”

In a nod to the performance of the rest of the Nationals’ rotation, Strasburg suggested he would be happy with staying on his usual turn.

“I don’t really know. I can’t answer that right now,” Strasburg said. “It was a good win for us. I don’t really think it would matter. Everybody healthy is pitching well. So I’d say keep it going.”

The stiffness Strasburg felt in his back gave him no concern. He  insisted it was nothing out of the ordinary.

“That’s 100 percent normal,” Strasburg said. “You can ask anybody in here. It’s a combination of being September and us being athletes. I’m not 20 years old anymore.”

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