Stephen Strasburg has rib injury ‘related’ to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery

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Strasburg rib injury ‘related’ to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg’s latest trip to the injured list will include a trip to see a specialist with no firm timetable for a return after the right-hander suffered a stress reaction in his second and third ribs, Nationals manager Davey Martinez announced Tuesday.

Strasburg, 33, reported some “discomfort” following his between-starts bullpen session Saturday, which led the Nationals to place him on the 15-Day IL. He had spent the first two months of the season ramping back up in his recovery from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery he underwent in July 2021. After making just one start, he’s back on the shelf.

“There are so many unknowns about this surgery and what can happen and this is part of it,” Martinez said in his pregame press conference. “It is related. We’re at a point now where, honestly, Stephen’s put all the work in. He’s done everything that he needed to do and it’s just the surgery, you don’t know where it’s going to go…There’s no timeline right now for Stephen. He’s gonna go see another specialist and then we’ll know more.”

Starting in Strasburg’s place Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves will be Jackson Tetreault, a former seventh-round pick the Nationals have developed. The 26-year-old was off to an impressive start to the season in Triple-A Rochester before an eight-run outing spoiled his numbers. Washington selected his contract amid of flurry of moves prior to Tuesday’s game.

But in the bigger picture, Strasburg’s latest injury represents a frustrating turn for the three-time All-Star. He’s started just eight games over the last three seasons, posting a 6.89 ERA in 31 1/3 innings between those starts. The 2019 World Series MVP is only two and a half years into his seven-year, $245 million contract.

Martinez doesn’t want to think about whether this injury could be concerning for Strasburg’s chances of pitching regularly for the Nationals again. He instead wants to say positive, declaring that Strasburg is “gonna pitch again.” When that might be will hinge on what the specialist recommends later this week.

“I don’t really want to look at it that way,” Martinez said. “I want to look at it as if he worked really hard to come back and he was able to pitch again in the big leagues, right? Even though it was one start, and so let’s see what happens after this little stint here. See if we can get him back.”