Strasburg remains shut down as Nats evaluate
NEW YORK -- Stephen Strasburg has been shut down from baseball activities and did not travel with the Nationals to the Bronx this week. The club wants to make sure the right-hander's shoulder inflammation improves before he ramps up his rehabilitation.
"He's working out at home," manager Dave Martinez said. "We're going to take it day to day and see where he's at. Get his strength back, number one, and then we'll go from there."
Washington never gave a timetable for Strasburg's return when the team placed him on the disabled list last weekend, but considering he has not yet resumed throwing, it will likely be an extended absence. Strasburg has a 3.46 ERA in 13 starts as one of the anchors of the Nationals' rotation, so while it will be difficult to replace him, the Nats want to make sure he is healthy late in the season.
In Strasburg's absence, the club promoted right-hander Erick Fedde to make his second start of the season in Wednesday's series finale at Yankee Stadium and optioned right-hander Trevor Gott to Triple-A Syracuse. Fedde, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the team's top pitching prospect and its No. 4 prospect overall, gave up three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Padres on May 23.
It is unclear how long Fedde will remain in the rotation, but the Nationals do have two vacant spots with Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson (hamstring) both on the DL. Hellickson also stayed home and has done only minimal throwing.
Murphy takes extra BP
After Tuesday night's game, Daniel Murphy went down to the batting cage to hit even more. He hit off a tee and off the machine, likely unsatisfied after going 0-for-4 in his 2018 debut.
Murphy could be forgiven for being a bit rusty considering it was his first time facing live pitching in about eight months, but he was on the field hours before Wednesday's series finale against the Yankees, taking early batting practice with hitting coach Kevin Long alongside Bryce Harper and Pedro Severino.
It's further evidence of Murphy's commitment and obsession with hitting, but also an encouraging sign for the Nationals that his surgically repaired knee is ready to be pushed.
"If he's got that much energy and that much to take extra swings, I think he's feeling pretty good," Martinez said. "Last night, he hit for a while and came out early today and hit, so that's a good sign that he's actually healthy and feeling good. And I know he said his timing was a little off. He wants to make sure he's good to go today."
Murphy, who served as DH on Tuesday and Wednesday, is expected to continue in that role during the Nationals' three-game series in Toronto this weekend.
Nats agree to terms with 22 Draft picks
The Nationals have signed 22 players from the 2018 Draft, including their second-round pick, left-hander Tim Cate. Selected 65th overall, Cate signed for $986,200, the full pick value, according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis.