What appeared likely all morning is now official: The Nationals placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation this morning after scratching him from his start on Tuesday night. The move is retroactive to July 22, the day after Strasburg's last start, so he is able to come off the DL on Aug. 6. He will make the team's trip to the West Coast next week, and could return in the series against the Dodgers, though it sounded unlikely that Strasburg would come back that soon.
The move is much for practical reasons as anything else; with the Nationals choosing to shut Strasburg down from throwing for several days and stretching out the time before his next start, they needed a roster spot. By the time Strasburg comes off the DL, he'll be almost ready to pitch again.
Strasburg, who felt shoulder tightness before his scheduled start on Tuesday, said this morning he is "feeling great already," and deflected a question about how disappointing it was to be placed on the disabled list, saying it was out of his control. But the Nationals clearly will continue to take every precaution with the 22-year-old.
They have no plans to shut him down for the season - Riggleman rejected that idea out of hand - but they also don't plan to put him on the mound if he's less than 100 percent.
"Any information we get that is negative, he's not pitching," manager Jim Riggleman said. "But if everything's positive, he's going to pitch."
But Riggleman also said the idea of getting Strasburg back so he could finish the year with around 160 innings and be ready to build on that next year was "way down on the priority list."
If Strasburg didn't pitch again this year - he's at 109 2/3 innings right now, between the majors and minors - and had to be on an innings limit again next year, "that'd be OK," Riggleman said. "We'll take that."
The Nationals activated Scott Olsen from the 15-day disabled list, and will need another starter on Sunday. A source said yesterday that Jason Marquis, who pitched five innings for Triple-A Syracuse last night, could make the Sunday start, but Riggleman said on Thursday it was unlikely that Marquis would pitch. If Miguel Batista, who threw five shutout innings in Strasburg's place on Tuesday, doesn't pitch much in relief over the next two days, he could fill in on Sunday.