Nationals' Stephen Strasburg Exits vs. Orioles Because of Apparent Hand Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2020

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during a baseball intrasquad game at Nationals Park, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Washington Nationals star pitcher Stephen Strasburg left Friday's start against the Orioles after just 16 pitches because of an apparent hand injury. 

Mark Feinsand @Feinsand

Stephen Strasburg just left the Nationals' game with just two outs in the first inning. He was shaking his hand a lot, which would seem to be related to the nerve issues he's been dealing with.

Losing Strasburg for even a start or two could have huge implications for Washington's season, with just 60 games to secure a postseason berth. He remains one of the team's most important players and one of the better pitchers in baseball. 

The 32-year-old was huge for the Nationals in 2019, going 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 251 strikeouts in 209 innings. He was even better in the postseason, going 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 36.1 innings.

Strasburg was named World Series MVP for his efforts in helping lead the Nationals to their first title. 

Alongside Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, he highlights an excellent rotation that is the strength of the Nats. That makes losing him for any duration particularly hard to overcome. 

Injuries have already played a part in his 2020 season, after a nerve issue in his right hand cost him his first start of the season in late July.

"It got to the point where I didn't have the same feeling in my hand holding the ball," he told reporters at the time, "and it was affecting my ability to command the baseball the way I'm accustomed to."

"Nerve issues are pretty fickle," he added.

That was a bit of an ominous start to Washington's title defense, as is this latest injury setback. 

Look for Erick Fedde to slot into the rotation while Strasburg is out of action.