Nationals are able to breathe a sigh of relief after yesterday

Spring training statistics are looked at with a grain of salt. This is a time for players to get repetitions and get back in the routine, breaking through the aches and pains which come along with being away from baseball activity for three months. Except in the case of Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Those statistics matter.

Strasburg took the mound in a game for the first time since August and the results were very encouraging. An injury riddled 2020 campaign, which ultimately ended in the 2019 World Series MVP undergoing surgery after being diagnosed with carpal tunnel neuritis.

Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg looks solid in his return from carpal tunnel surgery.

Being on a pitch count, like all pitchers are this early in spring training, Strasburg was under an even closer microscope. The $245M man, who has been a pricey investment since day one, will be expected to carry the workload for the starting rotation along with fellow right hander, Max Scherzer.

The barometer for gauging a pitcher early in spring training is usually, do they have their velocity, are they locating their pitches, are they getting their work in? For Strasburg surely the staff was looking at, how did he respond after the surgery? From all accounts he passed the test. He faced live hitting for the first time in half a year, and of the five outs he recorded, four were via the punch out. The ball/strike ratio not being where we want it isn’t even worth mentioning. It’s game one.

The priority is the health of Stephen Strasburg. With the addition of power hitters Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber to the lineup, having the pitching rotation rebuild after an abysmal year last season is the primary issue at hand.

We (as the Nationals) will continue to monitor Strasburg as the spring progresses, though should be able to breathe a sigh of relief after yesterday.