Scout on Strasburg: No indication at all he's hurt
Stephen Strasburg wasn't brilliant in his start Saturday. But after a week of concerns about his arm, a scout saw no sign he's hurt.
Let's put away, for now, the questions about Stephen Strasburg's health.
"He didn't show any indication at all that he was hurt," said one scout who watched Strasburg pitch Saturday in Pittsburgh.
So everything's fine with the Nationals' 24-year-old ace?
Maybe, maybe not. The same scout came away thinking Strasburg doesn't look as electric as he once did. He cited the 94 mph fastball Strasburg threw to Clint Barmes in the fifth inning, the one Barmes pounded for a two-run home run that gave the Pirates a 4-2 lead.
Strasburg ended up going seven innings and not allowing any more runs, and his fastball averaged 95.87 mph, according to Pitchf/x data from MLB.com. The Nationals came back and won, 5-4. But the pitch to Barmes, and a few others, raised a small hint of concern.
"At 93 with a straight fastball, he'd be just another guy," the scout said.
According to Pitchf/x, Strasburg's average velocity Saturday was only a touch lower than it has been in other starts this season, and not much behind where it was last year at this time.
But so much is expected of Strasburg that even a hint of vulnerability can be seen as a concern.
The bigger question this week, though, was Strasburg's health, after he had what manager Davey Johnson described as "forearm tightness" in his last start. Any mention of a forearm issue can raise alarms, because teams often try to hide elbow issues by calling them forearm problems instead.
The Nationals insisted Strasburg wasn't hurt, and Saturday's game seems to have eased any concerns.
"Not every game is going to be lights out, hitting every spot," Strasburg told reporters, according to the Washington Post. "I made a couple mistakes, and they put good swings on them."
He's healthy. The Nationals won.
No crisis here. Not now.
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