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World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg on IL with nerve issue in hand

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 15, 2020

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg heads to the dugout after leaving the game during the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Baltimore.  (Associated Press)
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg heads to the dugout after leaving the game during the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Baltimore. (Associated Press)
By Howard Fendrich Associated Press

WASHINGTON — World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg was put on the 10-day injured list by the Washington Nationals on Saturday because of the recurring nerve issue in his throwing hand that delayed his start to the 2020 season and cut short his second appearance after just 16 pitches.

The team classified his injury as “carpal tunnel neuritis of the right hand.”

Manager Dave Martinez said Strasburg would get nerve tests on his hand Monday, something the skipper referred to as “the first step” in trying to figure out what is going on.

“I don’t think this is going to get better soon. We tried,” Martinez said Saturday. “So right now, we’re just going to try see if we can get him healthy.”

The 32-year-old Strasburg, who signed a $245 million, seven-year contract with Washington this offseason, is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in two starts this season.

“He tried to pitch with it. It didn’t work out,” Martinez said. “This guy’s a big part of our future and we don’t want to jeopardize anything at this point.”

After being scratched from the rotation his first couple of turns, Strasburg made his debut last Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles, but left during a five-run fifth inning. He shook his right hand vigorously after one pitch and said after the game the problem was still something he was trying to work through.

The righty pitched again Friday night at Baltimore, but was removed after getting only two outs.

“He felt like he could pitch. He threw a good bullpen. It just gets to that point where … his thumb just goes numb. He’ll try to shake it out. Sometimes it feels better, sometimes it doesn’t,” Martinez said. “When I watched him yesterday, I just thought I didn’t want him to go through that. So the best thing to do is let’s just figure out what it is and get it right.”

This is Strasburg’s first trip to the IL since 2018. He has been on the IL more than 10 times over the years — including twice each in 2015, ‘16, ’17 and ‘18 — since being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft.

Last year, he made all 33 of his starts for Washington, leading the NL in innings and wins while going 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA and 251 strikeouts.

Then he helped the Nationals win the franchise’s first championship by becoming the first pitcher in baseball history to finish a postseason with a 5-0 record, while posting a 1.98 ERA, 47 strikeouts and just four walks in 36 1/3 innings.

To take Strasburg’s spot on the active roster, the Nationals recalled right-handed reliever Ryne Harper from the team’s alternate training site — he was optioned there a day earlier.

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