- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

LOS ANGELES — Stephen Strasburg was on a mound Monday for the second time in five days, this time in the Dodger Stadium bullpen. His target was to throw 35 pitches, but he felt “a little discomfort,” according to Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker, and stopped around 30-31 pitches.

Baker emphasized that Strasburg stopping the bullpen session was not reflective of a setback or significant problem. He likened it to writing, then flexing your hand and taking a break when necessary. Of course, anything related to Strasburg’s health is met with concern, even when the manager assures it is not a big deal. Baker said Strasburg is expected to continue on his throwing program.

“He was throwing the ball pretty good, very good actually,” Baker said. “But we said, if you felt anything, just shut it down.”

Baker said he was not worried about Strasburg.

Strasburg has not pitched since Sept. 7, when he came out of the game in the third inning because of strained flexor mass in his right elbow. Seeing Strasburg flex his arm on the mound prompted initial concerns that he had again torn his ulnar collateral ligament. The Nationals later took the rare step of making head trainer Paul Lessard available to the media to explain that Strasburg’s UCL was intact, and the he was dealing with a strained flexor.

Even Strasburg was concerned at the time that he had again tore his UCL and would require a second Tommy John surgery.

“Yeah the thought crossed my mind,” Strasburg said Oct. 7. “Anytime you have it in there I try to change this about me but I automatically assume the worst, I’m just thankful that it wasn’t. They said my UCL looked solid, in great shape so I think in the big picture this is probably the best news I could get.”

Strasburg explained that he had a partially torn pronator tendon in his right elbow. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection shortly after the injury, then did not throw for seven days. He said Oct. 7 that his arm is now healed and he is going step-by-step through the throwing program outlined by Dr. Robin West, who works for the Nationals, and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who provided a second opinion.

The Nationals gave Strasburg a $175 million extension in May.

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