The Washington Nationals placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day IL on Monday with a stress reaction in his second and third ribs related to the thoracic outlet surgery he underwent last July.
Stephen Strasburg Injury Update
Strasburg made only one start after returning from surgery, allowing seven earned runs and striking out five in 4.2 innings. He was scheduled to take the hill on Tuesday.
Unfortunately this injury is going to keep Strasburg out long past the 15-day minimum and may end his season before it really began, according to the ProBaseballDocs, who give the towering righty an SIC health score of 13.
It has taken him a year to get here and he still isn't right, the Docs contend, and he won't be able to get right in 15 days, or even 60 days.
This does not, however, instill any pessimism in the Docs about Strasburg's long-term prospects.
Being on the shelf off-and-on for three years could threaten his career, but he has experience what that while undergoing and rehabbing Tommy John surgery in 2011 and 2012.
Medically, the Docs say, this injury isn't an indication that his career has reached the end of the road yet.
A stress reaction, while not as significant as a stress fracture, is not an issue that heals in days.
The Nationals know that, as manager Davey Martinez mentioned Tuesday that there is no set recovery timetable.
It will take weeks, if not months, for the ribs to regain their integrity, and that is before he can begin his conditioning.
Chris Sale, for instance, has been out for four months with a stress fracture in his ribs and is still suffering setbacks in his rehab.
That leaves the 33-year-old in the 60-day territory, although the Docs would anticipate that his season is more-than-likely over. Just as they take time to heal, they take time to develop.
The thoracic outlet surgery is a delicate but generally simple procedure that involves removing the top rib to reduce pressure. After a period of adjustment, recovery is actually straightforward.
Strasburg only made three rehab starts before his debut and experienced discomfort during a normal bullpen session, which is an uncommonly short amount of time to suffer a stress reaction.
The issue would have quickly worsened to a fracture without intervention.
An injury this peculiar will inspire a careful and focused response, which includes flying to Los Angeles to get a second opinion and another extended stay on the IL.