Instead of writing more of the same stuff after back-to-back blowout losses to the Dodgers, let’s take a look at what actually turned out to be an eventful night on the Nationals farm.
Major leaguers started rehab assignments, top prospects were in action and, unfortunately, a top player suffered an injury.
Manager Davey Martinez didn’t have updates immediately after last night’s game, so expect more information to come out later today …
* Let’s start with Stephen Strasburg, who made his first rehab start with low Single-A Fredericksburg while making his way back from last summer’s thoracic outlet surgery.
Strasburg was scheduled to go four innings and/or 60 pitches with the FredNats, but he reached the pitch count before he could finish the third inning.
His pitch count elevated thanks to a long first inning: A one-pitch flyout to center, a four-pitch walk, a strikeout and stolen second base, another four-pitch walk, a wild pitch, a five-pitch walk to load the bases and then a 3-1 putout to end the inning. He threw 22 pitches but only seven strikes in the first frame.
Strasburg had a much more efficient second inning, inducing two flyouts and a strikeout after a leadoff walk.
His final line: 2 ⅔ innings, three hits, three runs, four walks, three strikeouts and two wild pitches against 15 batters. He finished at 61 pitches, 31 strikes, with his fastball topping out at 93-94 mph.
Strasburg is expected to make three or four rehab starts before coming off the injured list.
* Joe Ross simultaneously made his first rehab start with Double-A Harrisburg while recovering from a sprained elbow ligament last summer and a bone spur removed from the same elbow this spring. He too was scheduled for four innings and/or 60 pitches with the Senators, and although he completed three innings, he only threw about half the amount of pitches Strasburg did.
Ross hit a batter in the first and gave up back-to-back singles in the second to start the outing with the Senators. But after a clean third frame, the right-hander exited after three innings, two hits and four strikeouts against 11 batters faced. But he only threw 31 pitches, 23 for strikes, topping out at 95 mph.
Like Strasburg, Ross is expected to make three or four rehab starts. He is eligible to come off the 60-day IL on June 6.
* Ehire Adrianza joined Ross in Harrisburg while rehabbing a strained left quadriceps. Martinez said before yesterday’s game that he wanted Adrianza to play five to seven innings and get time at second base, third base, shortstop and even left field.
Adrianza reached in all four of his plate appearances, with a double, a walk and two singles on the night. All three of his hits went to left field. The switch-hitter faced a left-handed pitcher in his first three plate appearances and a right-hander in his last one. Two opposite-field hits on the night.
He did, however, commit an error while playing shortstop. He overthrew the first baseman while attempting to turn a double play at second base.
Adrianza is also eligible to come off the 60-day IL on June 6.
* On the injury front, Luis García left Triple-A Rochester's game in Syracuse with what was described as a hand injury.
While trying to reach on a dribbler up the third base line, García collided with the Syracuse first baseman, who was trying to reach the ball on a throwing error by the pitcher. After getting his left arm checked out by the training staff and leaving under his own power, the shortstop was replaced by Adrián Sanchez.
García is slashing .331/.387/.576 with a .963 OPS, 35 runs scored, five doubles, four triples, eight home runs, 27 RBIs and 15 walks in 37 games with the Red Wings.
* Almost in conjunction with García’s injury, Brady House was hit by a pitch in Fredericksburg. He was fine and finished the game. But after missing a week due to an illness earlier this month, the Nationals’ No. 2 ranked prospect could not afford to miss time due to a freak injury.
The timing of it was just eyebrow raising.
* Right-hander Mason Denaburg will take the mound in a game tonight with Fredericksburg for the first time since 2019, when he was at the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He was activated from the injured list yesterday after missing time due to arthroscopic surgery in his right shoulder in October 2019 and Tommy John surgery in March 2021.
Denaburg, the Nationals’ 29th-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, is only 22 years old and was a 2018 first-round pick (No. 27 overall) out of Merritt Island High School (FL).
All of this made for a notable night on the farm with an interesting couple of weeks to come.