Report: Stephen Strasburg Could Return 'Much Sooner' Than Expected from Injury

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg delivers against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, Friday, July 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Washington Nationals star Stephen Strasburg was forced to return to the disabled list after just one start back on the field, but the latest issue might not be as bad as initially anticipated. 

According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, the injury has been described as an inflamed nerve. While the team originally feared a six-to-eight week timeline for his return, Heyman reported he could be back "much sooner." 

The pitcher missed about six weeks due to a shoulder injury before returning on July 20. He was then placed back on the DL last Thursday, retroactive to July 22, with a pinched nerve in his neck.

He allowed six earned runs in 4.1 innings in a loss to the Atlanta Braves in his only start since early June.

While another DL stint isn't ideal, at least the latest prognosis is a positive one for a player who has struggled to stay on the field throughout his career.

Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac provided a breakdown of Strasburg's injury history:

Spotrac @spotrac

Washington #Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg finds himself on the DL for the 12th time since joining the league back in 2009. Of his $80M made to date, nearly $17M has been earned while injured.

Considering he is in just the second season of a seven-year, $175 million deal, this is not a trend the Nationals want to see continue.

What is even more disappointing is Strasburg's struggles when he is on the mound. In 14 starts this season, the 30-year-old has a 6-7 record with a 3.90 ERA, which would be a career-high for a season. 

With the rest of the Nationals rotation besides Max Scherzer also struggling with consistency, it's no wonder the team is just 52-53 this season despite high expectations.

The squad will hope Strasburg can overcome the latest injury and provide much-needed help for the stretch run.