Nationals Injury Report: Stephen Strasburg Set For Rehab Start, Returning Soon

May 27, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen
May 27, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Nationals' ace Stephen Strasburg will start for the AAA Rochester Red Wings on Friday in his third and, potentially, final rehab assignment as he rehabs from the unique surgery.

Stephen Strasburg Injury Update

The 2019 World Series MVP has only started seven games for 26.2 innings since hoisting the trophy because of an elongated bout with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. 

He last pitched almost exactly one year ago, tossing 4.1 innings of one-run ball on June 1, 2021.

He was pulled from that game with a neck strain, the last in a string of nerve issues that also affected his hand, calf, and shoulder that spurred the thoracic outlet surgery in late July.

In short, the ProBaseballDocs say thoracic outlet surgery is done to remove all of part of the uppermost rib to stop from compressing the nerves or blood vessels in the space between the rib and the collarbone, also known as the thoracic outlet. 

It is a pitcher-specific injury, as the nerves and vessels become entrapped by the stress of the repetitive pitching motion, causing the soreness, numbness, and muscle strains that Strasburg felt all over his body the past two years.

Other recent players to undergo the procedure include Tyson Ross, Merrill Kelly, and – potentially – Daulton Jeffries, who was placed on the 60-day IL after being diagnosed with TOS. 

Strasburg has progressed quickly since he began a throwing regimen, upgrading from throwing two innings in a simulated game to starting in Triple-A in under three weeks. 

He is progressing well, the Docs say, and close to a return, which normally comes at-or-near a year after surgery. 

He could very well see one more start in the minors, but he is trending towards starting in a Washington uniform in the next two weeks. 

Strasburg should experience a full return to his 2019 form, which Washington desperately needs from its $245 million man. 

The last time Strasburg pitched nerve injury-free, the 33-year-old won a league-high 18 games across a league-high 209 innings with a 3.32 ERA and 251 strikeouts. 

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