Stephen Strasburg exited with a strained right oblique after two innings in the Washington Nationals’ 3-2 Major League Baseball victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Strasburg flew back to Washington last night to meet with the team physician. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he wants a diagnosis before putting the pitcher on the disabled list.
“He wanted to continue,” Johnson said. “He was wincing and in a whole lot of pain. I was not so much worried about his back as I was worried about his arm. Anytime you have something like that, you worry about putting more stress on your arm.”
Strasburg gave up a home run to Freddie Freeman in the second inning and then struck out Evan Gattis with pitches that twice reached 98 miles per hour (158 kph). After two changeups to Brian McCann, his fastball slowed to 94 miles per hour.
Strasburg allowed one run on two hits and struck out two in two innings.
The pitcher, who signed a record $15 million four-year contract in 2009, set a major league record with 41 strikeouts in his first four starts in the 2010 season and went 5-3 with a 2.91 earned run average and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings. He threw a mixture of fastballs that reached 100 miles per hour, changeups and breaking pitches.
His career was interrupted by so-called Tommy John surgery on Sept. 4, 2010, to replace a ligament in his throwing arm two weeks after he injured it. He spent the 2011 season rehabbing with minor league teams.
Last year, he ended the season with a 15-6 record and 3.16 ERA and this year, he is 3.5 with a 2.49 ERA.
The Nationals (28-27) are in second place in the National League East, 4 ½ games behind the Braves (32-22).