Without Stephen Strasburg, there would be no optimism surrounding the Washington Nationals franchise. How many other pitchers can you remember that were somehow making a push to appear on an all-star roster following their first Major League start? To date, it has seemed that if the Nationals had anything to worry about at all with their young phenom it’s that he may have tipped a few pitches at some point this season. Prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves, Nationals fans were forced to take a collective gasp when Strasburg was scratched from his start with what’s being called an inflamed right shoulder.
Tests revealed that although there was soreness and inflammation in the shoulder, there was no structural damage. That’s obviously tremendous news for the 22-year-old, but is the discomfort something fans and members of the Nationals organization should be worried about, or is it a way of making sure he stays under his innings cap while also finishing the season?
It’s no secret that Strasburg throws hard. Check that. For a starting pitcher, he throws tremendously hard. While it’s exciting to watch, part of me always wants to cringe a little when I see a young pitcher throwing heat like Strasburg does. You’re looking at a guy who is going to be leaned on to be one of the top starters in Major League Baseball for a long, long time. Is it physically possible to throw that hard with pitches that break that sharply over such a long span? I’m sure Mark Prior would be able to shed a bit of light on that subject, so it’s obviously understandable that Washington fans would become uneasy.