Right-hander Stephen Strasburg left Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins after just three innings because of lingering discomfort behind his right shoulder blade.
Strasburg first felt the discomfort during his previous start against the New York Mets, but it dissipated as the game progressed and he was able to pitch through it. On Tuesday, however, the discomfort grew worse with time, particularly bothering him while throwing away to right-handed batters or in on left-handers. He is expected to see a chiropractor in the coming days.
“I just felt it more and more,” Strasburg said. “I felt like it was something that I feel like I could’ve gone through it, but at this point in the season, you just want to get it right and not alter your mechanics too much.”
Manager Matt Williams said Strasburg told him that it felt “like there’s a rib out.” It doesn’t appear that the right-hander will be sent to the disabled list, though Williams said he simply isn’t sure what the proper course of action will be.
“I don’t think we make that decision yet,” he said. “[Strasburg’s] perfectly fine otherwise. He’s had issues in the past with feeling something in his low back or something like that. I wouldn’t imagine that’s serious but we’ll have to see what the results tell us.”
Strasburg labored through the first two innings of Tuesday’s game, throwing 48 pitches and allowing two runs to score. Midway through the second inning, after hitting Adeiny Hechavarria and skipping a throw to first base on a sacrifice bunt for a throwing error, he was visited on the mound by Williams, pitching coach Steve McCatty and trainer Lee Kuntz.
Strasburg described the issue to the trio but told them that he could continue pitching. He worked out of the inning, then pitched a scoreless third. Doug Fister pinch-hit for him to lead off the bottom of that inning.
Strasburg said he has not felt this specific sort of discomfort before, but he does not believe it is serious.
“I think it’s just something that I probably need to get an adjustment or something like that,” he said. “Best way I can put it is you’re driving a car fast over speed bumps. It’s kind of a little irritation, kind of rattles the cage a little bit, but I can go out there and let it go. I was just feeling it more trying to throw fastballs away to a righty, down and in to lefties. It just kind of caused me to alter my mechanics a little bit too much and lost some command from it.”
Strasburg said he does not regularly visit a chiropractor, but has received such treatment in the past. He hopes a quick trip to the table can have him ready to make his next start.
“I think it’s probably just something that, for one reason or another, it just kind of creeps up in there sometimes,” Strasburg said. “I’ve just got to get it fixed and hopefully get back out there for the next one.”