- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 22, 2022

Washington Nationals fans can see Stephen Strasburg pitch on Tuesday for just $2.

Strasburg is beginning his long-awaited minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday with Single-A Fredericksburg, Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters Sunday. 

Once it was announced that Strasburg would hit the bump for the Fredericksburg Nationals on Tuesday, the team posted on Twitter that tickets for the contest start at just $2. 

Joe Ross, another right-handed starting pitcher on the 60-day injured list, will start his rehab assignment in Double-A Harrisburg, also on Tuesday. 

Strasburg has barely pitched in the big leagues since winning the 2019 World Series MVP and signing a $245 million contract. He missed most of the 2020 and 2021 seasons and spent this past offseason recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. 

Strasburg, 33, and the team have taken his return slowly. He faced live hitters during spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida, but then took a step back to focus on his mechanics. The outlook for Strasburg started to improve earlier this month when he faced live hitters once again. 

Martinez said the plan for Strasburg and Ross is for them to throw about four innings and/or 60 pitches-plus on Tuesday. 

“Now they’re actually competing in a regular scenario,” Martinez said. “You can’t take them out after 15-16 pitches an inning. They have to go out there and compete, and they have to get outs. They’re going out there to help our affiliate teams win. I want them to understand that they’ve got to go out and compete and help those teams win.”

Ross, 29, is working his way back from a pair of elbow injuries. The right-hander was shut down last August with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, ending the best season of his injury-riddled career. He then had a setback before spring training and had surgery to remove a bone spur in his throwing elbow. 

Both Strasburg and Ross are eligible to come off the IL on June 3, although it seems unlikely either pitcher would be ready that early. 

The reinforcements will be much-needed whenever they come, as the Nationals’ starting rotation entered Sunday with the second-worst earned-run average in the major leagues at 5.63. Joan Adon and Patrick Corbin are tied for the MLB lead in losses with seven apiece, while Erick Fedde, Aaron Sanchez and Josiah Gray all have ERAs north of 4.00. 

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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