Strasburg not concerned after early exit

March 15th, 2021

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- does not expect a long recovery after experiencing left calf discomfort and exiting his second start of Spring Training after 45 pitches in a 5-0 loss to the Astros on Sunday.

“It’s definitely not something I’m concerned about,” Strasburg said.

The Nationals right-hander walked off the mound following a visit from manager Dave Martinez and trainer Paul Lessard in the bottom of the third frame. He struck out four and allowed one hit and one walk in 2 1/3 innings.

“Everything was feeling good, and then the calf grabbed me a little bit,” Strasburg explained after undergoing an ultrasound. “Luckily, the reports and stuff from the doctors [show] nothing major. It was just kind of more of a precautionary thing, take it day to day and see how it feels tomorrow.”

Had this been a bigger game, Strasburg said he could have pitched through the discomfort. The Nationals, though, have been watching Strasburg carefully in his return from season-ending carpal tunnel surgery in his right hand, which limited him to five innings last year. Their plan for him on Sunday was to work up to 50-60 pitches.

"We're in Spring Training," Martinez said. "There's no sense in pushing it. ... Stephen's a tough guy. We know that in the past, he has pitched with cramps. But this is something right now that he doesn't need to be out there if he felt that."

Despite the early exit, Strasburg saw strides in his fastball and changeup since his first outing on Tuesday, his first start since Aug. 14, 2020. He recorded four strikeouts and one walk over 1 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings (38 pitches) on Tuesday.

“We’re all on different journeys, I guess,” Strasburg said. “[I’ve] just got to keep telling myself I’m going to keep grinding, keep working hard and roll with the punches.”