Abrams still sidelined, Strasburg releases statement on retirement

For the second straight day, CJ Abrams remains out of the Nationals lineup for this afternoon’s series finale against the Phillies.

The young shortstop was a late scratch from the lineup yesterday with a bone bruise in his left pinky finger suffered while sliding into second base Friday night.

“He's still a bit sore. So it's still going to be day-to-day,” manager Davey Martinez said of Abrams before the finale. “We'll see how he feels throughout the day. He's getting treatment. And I'm hoping that he could pinch-hit for us today late in the game. I just don't want to push it too much. I don't want to aggravate it.”

Nasim Nuñez replaced Abrams at shortstop yesterday and went 0-for-2 before being subbed out for pinch-hitter Luis García Jr. late in the game. Ildemaro Vargas is playing short today and batting seventh.

Abrams was off to a strong start to the season before the injury, slashing .321/.387/.607 with a .994 OPS, one triple, two home runs, five RBIs, three walks and a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen bases without committing an error in the field.

Even though he might be available off the bench today, the Nats hope the 23-year-old will need just one more day of rest and be ready to play in the coming days as they begin a nine-game West Coast road trip to San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles.

“Hopefully he gets through today. Hopefully we don't need him,” Martinez said. “And then we get to the West Coast and he'll start playing again. But I'm gonna keep an eye on him. Like I said, he's gonna get treatment. I'm sure he's going to try to go hit like he did yesterday for a little bit. Then hopefully, he's good to go.”

* Stephen Strasburg’s retirement finally became official last night and the right-hander released his first statement on the decision this morning:

“Today, I am announcing my retirement from the game I love. I realized after repeated attempts to return to pitching, injuries no longer allow me to perform at a Major League level.

“As a young kid, all I dreamt about was winning a World Series. Thanks to the many coaches, teammates, and medical staff, my boyhood dream came true in 2019. Despite this being a personal goal of mine, I’ve come to realize how truly important and special that moment was for so many fans in the DMV. Your unwavering support through all the ups and downs will always mean the world to me.

“I’d also like to thank the late Ted Lerner and family for giving me the chance to wear the curly W all these years. Although I will alway wish there were more games to be pitched, I find comfort knowing I left it all out there for the only team I’ve known. My family and I are truly fortunate and blessed to have experienced this baseball journey in the Nation’s Capitol.

“As always, Go Nats! #37”

Managing principal owner Mark Lerner released this statement on Strasburg’s retirement this morning:

“On behalf of the Lerner · Cohen · Tanenbaum family, I’d like to thank Stephen for all he’s done for the Washington Nationals. It was a privilege to watch him grow as a player and a person throughout his illustrious career. He gave us so many memories that will live in our hearts forever. No one can dispute the indelible impact he had on our organization. He put us on the map as World Champions and changed the face of our franchise. Thank you, Stephen – for everything – and congratulations on a tremendous career.”

President and general manager Mike Rizzo also released a statement via the team:

“I’d like to congratulate Stephen on an incredible career. From his Major League debut in 2010 through leading us to a title as the World Series MVP in 2019, the impact he’s had on our ball club is undeniable. He will go down as one of the best players in Washington Nationals history, and it was my honor to be part of that journey. We’re thankful for all he’s done for our organization and wish him and his family the absolute best.”

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