NEW YORK — Many at Nationals Park were alarmed when Stephen Strasburg’s fastball dipped from 95 to 94 mph on down to 91 over four innings in his first start in a more than a month Wednesday. It was a disconcerting development for a pitcher whose career might always be defined by injuries. But Strasburg and Manager Dave Martinez insisted he was healthy after the game. Strasburg said the nerve issue in his neck won’t dissolve for a couple months, but he was fine. He and Martinez attributed the velocity drop-off to endurance trouble.

So Strasburg proceeded as normal. He played catch the next day. On Friday, he threw a 40-pitch bullpen at Citi Field. That went well and he will make his next start, Martinez said.

“He said his bullpen went well, he felt good,” Martinez said. “Just typical soreness that he typically has after he starts so we’ll move forward.”

Martinez, however, acknowledged the club will closely monitor Strasburg when he makes his next start, which probably will be Monday in Philadelphia. That will entail constant communication.

“We’ve got to keep an eye on him,” Martinez said. “Make sure that when he starts hitting that peak where we feel like he’s getting tired and we got to take care of him, he’s got to be done. But that’s got to be conversations between me, him and Derek Lilliquist throughout the game. Make sure that he’s right where he needs to be and if he does get tired and he feels fatigued, we need to get him out.”

Martinez mentioned “70, 75, 80 pitches” is when Strasburg will have to begin fielding questions about his stamina. The right-hander threw 84 pitches Wednesday, allowing five runs on seven hits against the Phillies. He was gassed by the end. Whether he’ll have more in the tank his next time out is a mystery until he takes the mound in Philadelphia.

As for the bullpen, Ryan Madson was slated to meet the team in New York but hadn’t as of Friday afternoon. The veteran reliever has been rehabbing from lumbar nerve root irritation. On Thursday, Martinez indicated Madson could return this weekend against the Mets. Meanwhile, Sean Doolittle threw off flat ground Friday.

“He took crow hops and really got on his legs a little bit today so he felt good,” Martinez said.

Trea Turner SS
Anthony Rendon 3B
Bryce Harper RF
Ryan Zimmerman 1B
Juan Soto LF
Matt Wieters C
Michael A. Taylor CF
Wilmer Difo 2B
Gio Gonzalez P

METS (56-71)
Amed Rosario SS
Jeff McNeil 2B
Wilmer Flores 1B
Todd Frazier 3B
Jay Bruce RF
Austin Jackson CF
Jose Bautista LF
Kevin Plawecki C
Jason Vargas P

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