The Washington Nationals were slated to start Stephen Strasburg on Saturday night against the New York Yankees. But the right-hander's 2020 debut will not happen as planned. Rather, the Nationals scratched Strasburg on Saturday afternoon due to a "nerve issue in his right hand" that required an injection, manager Dave Martinez told reporters, including MLB.com's Jessica Camerato.
Right-hander Erick Fedde will take the mound in Strasburg's place. It's unclear if Strasburg will require an injured list stint. Martinez described him as "day-to-day," per The Athletic's Britt Ghiroli.
This would've been Strasburg's first meaningful appearance since Game 6 of the 2019 World Series. In the time since, he signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Nationals to keep him in town for the foreseeable future.
Strasburg, 32, would've been making his season debut. Last season, he made 33 starts and notched a 3.32 ERA (138 ERA+) and 4.48 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Fedde, 27, has made 35 career big-league appearances, including 26 starts. He's compiled a 5.39 ERA (83 ERA+) and 1.62 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those games. His arsenal includes a low-90s sinker and a curveball that missed bats on nearly a third of the swings taken against it. He was expected to fill a bullpen role this season.
The Nationals have now received unexpected news prior to both of their games this year. On Thursday, Juan Soto tested positive for COVID-19. Soto missed the opener and it's unclear when he will join the team.
In other news, the Nationals were reportedly close to signing free-agent utility player Josh Harrison heading into Saturday night's game. Harrison was released by the Philadelphia Phillies earlier in the summer after failing to make their 30-player roster. He spent last season with the Detroit Tigers, but was limited to 36 games due to injury.