The Washington Post

Stephen Strasburg on elbow, surgery and rehab

Stephen Strasburg (Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

After completing his six-week rehab from October elbow surgery, Stephen Strasburg said he is enjoying a normal offseason of preparation. Normal schedule. Normal throwing. Normal conditioning, lifting and running. “The whole shebang,” he said at NatsFest on Saturday. “Just getting ready for spring training. No problems.”

Strasburg missed two starts in September with tightness in his right forearm and dealt with the elbow discomfort for longer. After the season, he had several loose bodies removed from his throwing elbow. Despite the issue in his elbow, Strasburg still enjoyed a strong season, posting a 3.00 ERA and 1.049 WHIP over 183 innings.

“I’m excited for how it feels now,” he said. “But at the time, I didn’t really know what it was. It just kinda slowly crept up and I couldn’t straighten my arm out as much.”

Strasburg said his performance wasn’t affect by the loose bodies in his elbow because he only felt the discomfort between starts.

“With the way loose bodies work, it’s that when you get hot and you get the blood flow, your arm straightens out and you feel normal,” he said. “It was really the day after, trying to play catch and trying to throw a bullpen when it became a little difficult trying to get my arm and elbow back and flexible because of the loose bodies in there. It really wasn’t a game out there where I feel that it affecting my pitching.”

General Manager Mike Rizzo and Manager Matt Williams both expect Strasburg to be ready in time for spring training, but Williams said he will be cautious and monitor Strasburg, along with Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche, who all had offseason surgery.

“Everything that I hear and everything that I’m expecting is that it’ll feel normal,” Strasburg said. “I’m doing my normal offseason routine. And, I don’t feel like there’s any reason why I should be held back in spring training.”

At NatsFest, Strasburg had the chance to meet some of the newest additions to the team: starter Doug Fister and his new manager. On Fister, Strasburg said: “A veteran arm who’s got postseason experience and knows how to throw 200-plus innings every year and we’re excited to have him as part of the rotation.” And on Williams, Strasburg said he has heard that Williams is an intense person. “But I think that’s going to be a good thing for this club,” he said.

Like any player or pitcher, Strasburg has a checklist of improvements for next season, and some of them aren’t new.

“Pick-off move, time out of the stretch, work on commanding fastballs on both sides of the plate,” Strasburg said. “Sinkers, more so, on both sides of the plate. Just trying to take that next evolution and trying to get more complete.”

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.



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James Wagner · January 25, 2014