Strasburg set to make rehab start at Triple-A

Right-hander will pitch for Rochester on Sunday; Corbin goes on paternity list

May 15th, 2021

Stephen Strasburg is checking off the next box toward his return from the injured list.

The Nationals right-hander is scheduled to make a rehab start on Sunday with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings against the Buffalo Bisons in Trenton, N.J. Strasburg has been on the IL since April 18 (retroactive to April 15) because of right shoulder inflammation.

“So far, it’s been good,” manager Dave Martinez said of Strasburg’s recovery. “It’s a progression.”

Strasburg was cleared for the rehab outing after a Thursday bullpen session that Martinez described as “very good." Strasburg is slated to throw five innings or around 75-80 pitches. The Nationals plan to evaluate Strasburg one or two days after the start and assess whether he could be activated, or if he will require more time on the IL.

“Hopefully, he comes out well,” Martinez said. “I’m just looking for health-wise right now.”

This is the second time this season the Nationals are sending an injured player to their Triple-A affiliate. Reliever Wander Suero threw one inning for the Red Wings before he was activated from the IL this week.

“It’s good to get them in a live game and do what they do,” Martinez said.

Dad power
The Nationals continue to flex their dad strength.

After left-hander Patrick Corbin recorded a season-high nine strikeouts over seven innings in a win against the Phillies on Thursday, his wife, Jen, gave birth to their son, Weston Alan, at 6:37 a.m. ET on Friday.

On May 2, fellow starter Max Scherzer rapidly threw a complete game against the Marlins, then left Nationals Park for the birth of his son, Derek Alexander, just more than four hours after first pitch.

“They come out, they throw strikes, they want to get back and make sure they don’t miss anything, I guess,” Martinez said.

Like with Scherzer, Corbin coincided the birth with the starting rotation. He was placed on the paternity list ahead of Friday's series opener at Arizona, and right-hander Paolo Espino was recalled from Triple-A.

Corbin could make his next scheduled start if he can throw a bullpen session before then. If not, Espino could get the nod. Espino could also be called upon to provide length out of Washington’s bullpen.

Espino (0-1, 1.64 ERA) has made six appearances for the Nats this season, including one start.

“He’s really done well,” Martinez said.

Scherzer the hitter
Martinez has liked the Nationals’ lineup with the pitcher batting in the No. 8 spot, which essentially gives them two leadoff hitters in Victor Robles (No. 9) and Trea Turner (No. 1). Before mapping out the batting order for Friday’s game, Martinez informed Scherzer he would be batting eighth.

“He kind of feels like a hitter right now,” Martinez said. “But I told him, 'Just play the game. You’ve got a couple guys on, you might have to bunt, there could be situations for you.' He understands that really well.”

Scherzer has had success in the No. 8 hole. Over his 14-year career, he has hit .214 in 28 at-bats there, compared to .184 in 385 at-bats hitting ninth.