Strasburg receives shot in neck, could resume throwing Sunday

MIAMI - The Nationals have received what they believe to be good news about Stephen Strasburg, though it's still an open question when the right-hander will be ready to pitch again.

Strasburg, in Los Angeles on Thursday to have his ailing neck examined by a neurologist, was given a shot and is set to rejoin the Nationals in Miami on Saturday. He'll need to wait 72 hours for the shot to take full effect, but provided he feels well at that point he'll be cleared to resume throwing.

"That's good news," manager Davey Martinez.

Strasburg-Delivers-Red-Sidebar.jpgStrasburg, who spent six weeks on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, returned to make one start last week - he gave up six runs to the Braves in 4 2/3 innings - and then informed club officials Wednesday his neck had become a problem. The Nats immediately returned him to the DL and gave him a follow-up MRI on the shoulder, which revealed no issues.

Strasburg, whose injury officially was diagnosed as a cervical nerve impingement, traveled to Los Angeles to meet with a neurologist, who administered the shot.

"We know it's not his shoulder," Martinez said. "We know exactly what it is. Now it's just getting him better and getting him right. He's one of the best in baseball. We miss him and we need him. But I want him totally healthy and ready to go."

Journeyman Tommy Milone, who started in Strasburg's place Thursday night and gave up three runs in five innings in the Nationals' 10-3 win over the Marlins, will remain with the club and prepare to take the next scheduled start for that slot (Wednesday against the Mets).

Martinez didn't sugarcoat the importance of Strasburg's return, though, to a rotation that shockingly has ranked as the majors' worst for a stretch of nearly two months.

"I can't wait to really hone in, get him healthy and get him back," the rookie manager said. "We miss him. I'm not going to sit here and say that we don't need him, cause we really do. When he's back and healthy, he's going to help us win a lot of games."

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