The Washington Nationals placed right-handed starter Stephen Strasburg on the 10-day injured list, with right shoulder inflammation on Sunday. The Strasburg move is retroactive to Thursday, which would mean Strasburg is eligible to return from the IL by April 25. Right-hander Paolo Espino will start in his place for Sunday's game against the Diamondbacks. If Strasburg ends up missing extended time with shoulder trouble, right-hander Erick Fedde appears to be the most likely to file in as the clubs' fifth starter.
Southpaw starter Jon Lester is also missing from the Nats rotation as he's on the COVID-19 injured list and currently at the alternate training site where he'll build up his arm before rejoining the team. Lester was one of nine players missing from the ballclub due to COVID-19 issues at the start of the season.
During Strasburg's last outing on Tuesday against the Cardinals, he gave up eight runs (seven earned) and walked five batters over four innings in the 14-3 loss to St. Louis. According to The Athletic's Maria Torres, Strasburg insisted after the rough outing that he didn't feel hurt and the team trainers did not notice anything wrong following their evaluation.
Listen to David Samson break down the Strasburg injury on the latest episode of Nothing Personal with David Samson:
Of the seven earned runs, five of them were home runs. Strasburg averaged only 90.6 mph with his fastball and maxed out at 92.1 mph in Tuesday's start. After the loss, Strasburg chalked up the low velocity to struggles with his mechanics. It was a stark contrast from his opening start this season where he struck out eight across six scoreless innings against the Braves.
Strasburg, 32, re-signed with Nationals for a seven-year, 245 million deal following the club's 2019 World Series victory. He was limited to just two starts during the abbreviated 2020 season after he was diagnosed with carpal tunnel neuritis and underwent season-ending surgery.