While Bryce Harper still has a little ways to go in his rehab from offseason knee surgery, Stephen Strasburg’s rehab is complete following a surgical procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow back in October.
Strasburg says that he went through a brief six-week rehab period following the surgery, but that he’s now back to his normal offseason routine. As a result, he expects to be full-go when spring training begins in a few weeks.
“(The offseason routine) really hasn’t changed,” Strasburg said. “The rehab time was six weeks, so when I was over there doing the physical therapy, the strengthening of it and the flexibility aspect, I wouldn’t have been doing anything anyway. So if anything, I just put in more work this offseason. ... It’s not considered rehab anymore, it’s just normal throwing. Just kind of normal routine I do every offseason.
“Everything that I hear and everything that I’m expecting is that (my spring will be) normal. I feel great, doing my normal offseason routine, and I don’t feel there’s any reason why I should be held back if I feel good come spring training.”
Strasburg knew that his arm wasn’t completely healthy late in the 2013 season, but he also knew it wasn’t anything that would prevent him from taking the ball every fifth day. He battled through some forearm tightness and finished the season in the rotation, completing the year with a solid 3.00 ERA.
“At the time, I (wanted) to go out there and compete and I feel like it was something I was able to do and pitch at a high level,” Strasburg said. “I’m excited for how it feels now, because at the time, I didn’t really know what it was. It just kind of slowly crept up and I just couldn’t straighten my arm out as much. ...
“The thing was that it wasn’t so much when I’d go out there and pitch in a game, but the way loose bodies work is that when you get hot and you get the blood flow, the arm straightens out and you feel normal. But it was really the day after, trying to play catch and throw a bullpen and stuff was where it became a little difficult, trying to get my arm and my elbow back and flexible with those loose bodies in there.”
Meanwhile, Tyler Clippard and Doug Fister both were asked about their ongoing contract talks with the Nationals. Both players are eligible for arbitration for the 2014 season and have yet to reach terms on a contract with the Nats, and with February arbitration hearings looming, things will need to come together in the next few weeks if the three-man arbitration panel is to be avoided.
“We’ll see how it all plays out,” said Clippard, who is seeking $6.35 million in 2014 while the Nationals countered with an offer of $4.45 million. “Those discussions are all up to me, the Nationals, my agent and everything like that. Talking about it in the media does me no good. ...
“It’s part of the business, and getting to this point in my career is always something that I wanted to do. So it’s enjoyable, but the business side of things, I like being a baseball player. So that kind of stuff, I just leave up to (my agent).”
Fister, who the Nats acquired this offseason in a trade with the Tigers, is seeking $8.5 million in 2014, while the Nationals have offered $5.5 million.
“We both want to settle,” Fister said. “It’s one of those things that nobody ever wants to go to arbitration, so we’re looking to see what we can do. At this point, we’ll see what kind of plays out.”
Nobody ever wants to go to arbitration, but especially when they just joined a brand new team.
“Yeah, we don’t want to,” Fister said. “You never want to start off (that way) or have that problem. So I’m sure there’s going to be something we’ll be fine with.”