Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg & Joe Ross Made Their Rehab Assignments
By Max Rayman
After starting the season on the IL Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross both finally made respective rehab starts last night.
Sitting at 15-30 and in need of good news, Joe Ross and Stephen Strasburg made their long-awaited rehab starts on Tuesday night to mixed results. For a starting rotation that ranks last in fWAR and FIP and 29th in ERA, they are in drastic need of their two most consistent members.
The duo both started the 2022 season on the IL after seeing their 2021 seasons end early due to injuries. Strasburg only threw 21 2/3 innings (he underwent surgery to alleviate neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome) while Ross made 20 appearances (partially tore his UCL in his right elbow) before being shut down.
Having learned their lesson from rushing pitchers back in the past, Washington wisely chose to take their time, knowing how important the duo is to the Nationals speeding up their rebuild.
Strasburg was sent to Low-A Fredricksburg where fans and teammates alike were anxious to see the World Series MVP get to work.
On a pitch count of 60 or four innings, Strasburg struggled with command out of the gate. He only lasted 2 2/3, throwing 61 pitches — only 31 were strikes. He allowed three runs, on three hits, while walking four and striking out three.
When he was able to locate his pitches, he was deadly, fooling his much younger opposition. But rust played a major factor and understandably so. This was the first time he’s pitched in a professional outing since June 1 of last season. Despite the shaky outing, the Nationals fanbase was ecstatic their ace didn’t suffer another setback — instead, only dealing with the normal sourness that comes with pitching.
Joe Ross who started for the Nats AA affiliate was efficient, throwing three shutout innings on only 31 pitches — allowing only two hits and striking out four. Unfortunately, he was pulled early due to elbow tightness and underwent an MRI today. Dave Martinez explained what happened to the media during his pregame press conference.
“I think they saw his velo drop a little bit, and I think he might have said something to them,” Martinez said. “I don’t know the whole story about it, but what we do know he is he was sore. He came back here last night. The doctor looked at him, and then they want to get an MRI to see what’s going on.”
Ross who suffered a partial tear of his UCL last year opted against surgery — having already undergone Tommy John in 2017. The hope is he won’t need to have a second procedure.
There isn’t a timetable on when either will be ready to return to the mound for the Nationals and for now the franchise just needs to take it one day at a time with the veterans.