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Strasburg throws bullpen, clarifies injury

May 9, 2015, 1:23 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today

[Updated 2:53 p.m.]

Stephen Strasburg threw a bullpen session on Saturday afternoon and afterwards took his clubhouse media session as an opportunity to clear the air on what has been ailing him in recent days.

Contrary to some reports, Strasburg does not have a problem with his shoulder. It is instead his ankle, which caused him to overcompensate on his pitching mechanics and as a result his back tightened up. He hurt his left ankle late in spring training and was briefly sidelined before the Nats’ opened their regular season schedule.

Strasburg felt fine after throwing on Saturday and believes he can return to the Nationals rotation early next week if all goes well on Sunday.

“I felt good. No problems. I actually threw for the first time without having my ankle taped up. It was more of a mental thing. I felt good, my ankle didn’t feel bad and that helped my alignment be better,” he said.

Strasburg plans to play catch on Sunday to test his ankle and back once again, but he thinks the back tightness has been alleviated after seeing a chiropractor.

“It was just night and day. I was happy with it. I thought that’s what was going to happen and that’s was what happened,” he said of the appointment.

With his back tightness now cleared up, Strasburg wanted to set the record straight about his injury, that it had nothing to do with his shoulder.

“It’s what caused my back tightness. It was never a shoulder issue. What caused my back tightness was I think an extension of a change in mechanics from my ankle. I just started throwing across my body a little more than I have done in the past,” he said.

Strasburg has been working on his mechanics with pitching coach Steve McCatty, who initially noticed Strasburg was favoring his ankle while watching film of his recent outings.

“We were looking at a lot of video and he started to notice that. I was landing a little bit more too much from where I need to be. He kind of diagnosed that,” he explained.

“It was something where I felt like I could pitch. My arm felt good, my velocity felt good. Then it got to the point where there was a little irritation in my back and I realized it. It was like a light bulb went on. It is such a small adjustment. It’s something that you can’t really see unless you slow it down and know what you’re looking for. I knew what I was feeling. I didn’t know what it was.”

Strasburg was removed from his previous start on May 5 against the Marlins. He is 2-3 with a 4.73 ERA in six outings this season.


  1. Theophilus T.S. - May 9, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    For no particular reason, I’m not persuaded.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 9, 2015 at 3:39 PM

      Oh, come on. Don’t you often confuse your shoulder with your ankle? I certainly do.

      • Sonny G 10 - May 9, 2015 at 10:24 PM

        That’s funny, Eugene. 🙂

  2. NatsLady - May 9, 2015 at 1:55 PM

    What is this, a game of “telephone”? Matt Williams was pretty specific in describing how Stras felt the other day, right down to the sound effects. Now we have a completely different story?

    • pchuck69 - May 9, 2015 at 2:35 PM

      But Matt Williams is ALWAYS wrong about injuries.

      • nataddicted - May 9, 2015 at 4:30 PM

        Hi Everyone, I’ve come to think that MW and Rizzo only say what they want us (and other teams to hear).

        Put another way, “they play their cards close to the vest.”

        If that means we’re confused that isn’t his problem. (I actually DO know the difference between an ankle and a shoulder?!)

        And I get the idea he doesn’t stay awake at night worrying about how he might have said something at a presser that leaves us with one impression, and says something quite a bit more revealing to Rizzo/Knorr/Cat and/or the players.

        His problem is to guide his team to a successful season. He doesn’t really owe anyone the whole and unvarnished truth.

        In a prior life MW has hosted TV shows, done booth work, and his spouse is in the media game, working in front of the camera. He’s fully aware of the power of the words said into microphones.

        I should also say I’m not as in love with this guy as a couple of our former managers. He’s definitely better than a few of our old ones too, at least he’s got a vastly better team than ANY of our former managers. (Can you say Max?)

  3. Section 222 - May 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM

    This is interesting. I’m skeptical because I’m always skeptical of what people say about their injuries. But it might explain those several starts where his curve was sweeping instead of 12-6. He’s got great natural ability so he was getting through it, but he hasn’t been the wipe out pitcher he’s been in the past.

  4. letswin3 - May 9, 2015 at 2:26 PM

    This sounds just stupid enough to be true. The “Medical Malady Department” keeps bringing out new descriptions for Matt Williams to explain … he, of course, is a much better manager than medical technician explainer guy. If their intentions are to confuse their opponents and fans, they are the league leaders.

  5. ITGSOT - May 9, 2015 at 3:25 PM

    The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone. The leg bone’s connected to the hip bone. The hip bone’s connected to the spine bone. The spine bone’s connected to the shoulder none. And that’s how the world goes round.

    Look, folks. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that sports physicians and yes, even chiropractors, are trained to diagnose and treat. Understanding and explaining what exactly is wrong with a pitcher is way above the pay grade of a pitcher or even a manager. If Strasburg’s issue is indeed fixed, why not just celebrate that and quit complaining about things?

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - May 9, 2015 at 6:12 PM

    Fister hit the wall quickly.

    • soonernat - May 9, 2015 at 8:39 PM


      • soonernat - May 9, 2015 at 8:40 PM

        Correction the +1 is for ITGSOT





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