Stephen Strasburg returns to the injured list

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Stephen Strasburg returns to the injured list

WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg returns to the injured list less than a week after returning from a year-long hiatus.

Strasburg, who was due to start on Tuesday, had experienced discomfort after his bullpen session on Saturday and underwent an MRI on Monday. After the Nationals’ 5-9 loss to the Braves, manager Dave Martinez said he would have more information about Strasbourg on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old right-hander had returned to the mound Thursday, giving up seven runs with eight hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings against the Marlins. Aside from the tiredness in his legs, Strasburg Martinez said he’s feeling good after making his season debut.

But on Sunday, Strasburg warned the team “he didn’t feel right.”

“We were hoping it was just something that would go away,” Martinez said. “It didn’t. … We don’t yet know if this is the same problem or not, but we will know more … once we get the MRI and the doctors read the image. But it stinks because he was so excited to be back. But hopefully it’s just a minor setback.”

The past two years have been marked by injuries for Strasburg. His 2020 season was limited to five innings because of carpal tunnel surgery on his right hand, and the following season was abandoned at 21 2/3 frames because of thoracic outlet surgery. Strasburg diligently rehab this spring at the Nationals training complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., and he threw three minor league starts before being reinstated.

“This is a surgery that, judging from discussions with doctors and coaches, is relatively new and affects men differently,” Martinez said of the thoracic outlet surgery. “After the surgery you just see things on a broader spectrum and hope that they can come back and open them up and suddenly become a little bit of who they were before. But you just don’t know what to expect, you don’t know how long it will take for you to get sore. And I’ve seen that happen with other guys, and it took a while. Some guys a few years before they could come back and really get over it and dj. Hopefully that’s not the case with Stephen. As I said, it’s so different for every pitcher.”

Healthy Strasburg can anchor a starting rotation. After winning 5-0 in the postseason and being named 2019 World Series MVP, he signed a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Nationals. Strasburg’s long-term health outweighs him as he struggles with discomfort in the here and now.

“Like I’ve been saying all along, we’re going to be as careful with him as we can and try to do everything right for Stephen and for this organization to move forward,” Martinez said. “Right now we’re on these bumpy roads and we’ll see what happens.”

The Nationals fill Strasburg’s place in Tuesday’s starting rotation by calling up right-hander Jackson Tetreault from Triple-A Rochester to his major league debut. Tetreault, 26, is 5-3 with a 4.19 ERA over 12 starts (58 innings) this season with the Red Wings. He’s on schedule, having last conquered the mound on Tuesday. The Nats selected Tetreault in the seventh round of the 2017 draft.

“He was good,” Martinez said. “He has a mixture of three different pitches. He throws strikes, which is nice. He did well down there, so let’s give him the opportunity to serve here.”

Although Josiah Gray didn’t make his scheduled start Monday after the one-hour, 33-minute rain delay, the Nationals are treating his pregame warm-up as a bullpen session, meaning he won’t be available the next day.

“He won’t serve tomorrow,” Martinez said. “He got hot. He threw, I think, 37 pitches into the bullpen. I mean he was hot, ready to go.”

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