Don't panic, Washington Nationals fans. Yes, right-hander Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his scheduled start Friday night because of forearm tightness, but it doesn't appear his discomfort is a precursor to more elbow trouble. At least that's what Nats manager Davey Johnson says, via the Twitter of MLB.com reporter Tom Schad:
Tightness is not where Strasburg had TJ, Davey said. Opposite side of forearm. Its soft tissue injury, not tendon. #Nats
— Tom Schad (@Tom_Schad) September 13, 2013
As if the Nationals needed another reason for dread in this disappointing season, Strasburg going down the road to another Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery would be too much to bear. Forearm tightness, though it sounds benign, very often is a sign of ligament damage. The Nationals shut down Strasburg about this time a year ago at the 159-inning mark as part of his recovery from elbow surgery. He's reached 170 innings this season, but the specter of injury still looms.
Apparently this time, Strasburg has been working on a new pitch (perhaps a cut fastball?) to go with his fastball, curve and change up repertoire. That in itself would be interesting news. Will he keep trying to learn a new pitch, in spite of the discomfort it might be costing him so far?