Strasburg hasn't pitched in the majors in more than a year (his last MLB start was June 1, 2021) after undergoing surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome. In 2020, Strasburg also underwent season-ending surgery, that time for carpal tunnel neuritis in his throwing hand. Because of those injuries and the serious nature of them, Strasburg has made a total of just seven starts since the start of the 2020 season. Unfortunately for the club, that run of injuries roughly coincides with the decision to sign Strasburg to a $245 million extension that runs through the 2026 season. He's owed the balance of a $35 million salary for 2022, and then will make $35 million in each of the following four seasons.
Now 33, Strasburg is a Nats lifer and when healthy has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. He was an essential part of the Nats' 2019 run to the World Series title, as he pitched to a 3.32 ERA and led the NL in innings that year en route to finishing fifth in the NL Cy Young balloting. For his career, Strasburg has compiled aof 31.2 and made three All-Star appearances.
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While thoracic outlet syndrome can be a career-altering maladay, the Nats and Strasburg are no doubt hoping that he can still achieve something close to peak performance as he heads toward his mid-thirties.
As part of his recovery process, Strasburg undertook a minor-league rehab assignment. In three starts across two minor-league levels, he pitched to a 1.98 with 13 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings and improved fastball velocity.