Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, last year’s World Series Most Valuable Player, has been diagnosed with carpal tunnel neuritis in his right hand, the reigning Major League Baseball champions announced Friday.
The 32-year-old American was placed on the 10-day injury list Sunday as Nationals manager Dave Martinez and team physicians consider surgery among options to treat the injury, diagnosed Thursday by a nerve specialist.
“Now we’re going to sit back and discuss what the plans are moving forward,” Martinez said. “I think it’s something that’s going to have to be fixed.”
Martinez wanted to consult Strasburg, an 11-year MLB veteran, before making any decision on how to proceed.
“We don’t know,” he said. “Are we conservative and let it try to heal? Or the other option is, it could be possible to have surgery.”
Strasburg began having tingling in his right hand near the end of pre-season training camp and missed his first two scheduled starts of the season, delayed to a July start and shrunk to 60 games by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Strasburg tried to pitch through the discomfort, but he managed only five innings in two appearances, going only 2/3 of an inning last week after throwing only 16 pitches against Baltimore. He is 0-1 this year with a 10.80 earned-run average and two strikeouts.
“It helps us all knowing that we can have a plan going forward,” Martinez said. “But my concern is always Stephen and hope that he recovers as quick as possible — regardless of whether he pitches again this year or not.”
Strasburg, who signed a record seven-year contract worth $245 million in December, might not return this year.
“He’s going to be missed, no matter what,” Martinez said. “Every start with him was always good every five days to put his name in there and watch him do his thing.”
Erick Fedde has filled in as a starter with Strasburg out and is likely to make that role full time until his return.
“The rest of these guys, they know what they need to do,” Martinez said. “They will pick up the slack and we’ll go from there.”