Stephen Strasburg said his throwing arm was tired in Sunday’s start against the Baltimore Orioles and once Manager Davey Johnson learned of it, he pulled him after five innings. Johnson stressed that it was only a minor issue and said he didn’t expect the ace to miss a start.
Johnson said Strasburg was suffering from tightness in his right bicep and the pitcher admitted it was bothering him. Strasburg later shrugged off the incident, saying that it wasn’t a bicep issue and some tiredness. He attributed that to overworking in between starts, trying to overcompensate and overtrain after his worst outing of the season.
Johnson said he learned of the discomfort after the fifth inning but would have pulled Strasburg had he known earlier. Strasburg had already thrown 90 pitches through five innings.
“That kind of thing, anything wrong with any pitcher than complains about anything, and Stras is not a complainer,” Johnson said. “If he’d have told me it was tight after the first inning, I’d have probably hooked him then.”
Strasburg added later that it was overall fatigue, and not just a tired arm. After needing 51 pitches to get through the first two innings, the right-hander settled down a retired the final 10 batters he faced, seven on strikeouts. His velocity was fine, hitting 97 mph on the radar gun in the fifth inning.
“It’s just the long, starting out throwing a lot of pitches early and then we put up a lot of runs and stuff,” Strasburg said. “Just got a little tired, got a little tight. But that’s nothing different than any other outing. It’s something that it’s going to be like this for probably the rest of the year. It’s just part of coming back from Tommy John. Building up the innings, getting the stamina and everything. It’s something I’ve just got to be smart about.”
Added Johnson: “I talked to him later on in the game and he said to me, it relaxed a little bit and he felt a lot better. Hopefully it’s, I’m not as concerned when I heard it’s in the bicep. That’s general where you can have tightness come from throwing a lot of pitches in an inning.”