Big League Stew

Stephen Strasburg survives being struck by Prince Fielder line drive

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(AP)

The Washington Nationals experienced a few anxious moments on Friday during their Grapefruilt League game with the Detroit Tigers.

During a fourth inning at-bat, their ace, Stephen Strasburg, was struck pretty hard by a line drive off the bat of Prince Fielder, who's probably the last person in the ballpark you'd want to have strike you with a line drive. Although it could be a tie with Miguel Cabrera.

[Also: Aroldis Chapman remains Cincinnati closer]

Anyway, that obviously drew a large crowd at the pitching mound in a matter of seconds, but it turns out there were two pieces of good news to come out it. The first is that the ball struck him on the left hand/wrist area, not the right, which obviously eliminates the worst case scenario. And the other good news came afterwards when it was confirmed that Strasburg suffered little more than a good scare and a bruise on his left thumb.

Watch the video here

Comcast Sports Net's Mark Zuckerman has more, including Strasburg's postgame comments.

In the end, there was nothing for everyone to be worried about. The fourth-inning comebacker caught Strasburg on the fleshy pad of his left thumb, not on a less-protected part of his hand, wrist or forearm. And after a couple minutes spent getting the feeling back in the hand and then throwing a couple of warm-up tosses, Strasburg was back to his old self, striking out a pair of Tigers to end the inning and continue his Grapefruit League start unabated.

"It's fine," the right-hander insisted afterward. "It just kind of numbed up a little bit out there. It's a little tender, but nothing crazy."

Disaster averted, though the reminder of how dangerous and vulnerable a position he's in as a pitcher certainly can't be good for the pysche. Strasburg didn't sound any worse for the wear speaking afterwards, so obviously he wasn't too rattled. He's still far more concerned about developing into a true ace and a workhorse that the Nationals feel comfortable riding into and through October.

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