Nationals manager Davey Martinez said Stephen Strasburg has still got some tingling in his hand, something the right-hander reported feeling again after his last start Sunday afternoon at Nats Park against the Orioles.
“I was a little bit concerned,” Martinez said during his pregame Zoom video call. “We will see how he feels. Yesterday he threw a little bit. He still felt it, so we will see where he is at. It’s raining right now, so we will see if he can go out there and throw again today. But we will definitely have to keep an eye on it. It’s a weird thing. He doesn’t feel it all the time. I know he’s in the training room working with the staff and trying to get it to go away.”
Martinez observed that treatment for an injury to a hamstring or a shoulder are often obvious, but figuring out how to handle the tingling Strasburg feels in his thumb is trickier. As of now, Martinez said, it doesn’t appear that Strasburg will need to miss a start, but the club will monitor his condition closely to make sure the tingling sensation doesn’t turn into severe pain or affect his pitches.
“It’s really hard to manage,” Martinez said. “I wish I had a definitive answer. I don’t. We just have to go by what he is saying and what he feels. I know he is in there getting treatment. I know they are doing a bunch of things to strengthen that area, his forearm, and all that other stuff. We are just going to have to wait and see how he feels during the next day or so. I know he is pitching on Friday.”
Reliever Will Harris was dealing with a groin issue that has had him sidelined for a couple of weeks, but the skipper believes the right-hander could pitch in tomorrow’s afternoon finale if all goes as planned the rest of today.
“He is doing good. He feels good today,” Martinez said of Harris. “We are going to give him another day (of rest) today and hopefully he feels good tomorrow, we will activate him tomorrow.
“He had a heavy workload yesterday, so instead of activating him today and kind of pitching him back-to-back, because he threw yesterday to live hitters, just give him a day and get him ready for tomorrow so we have him.”
Aníbal Sánchez starts tonight for the Nats. The veteran right-hander has allowed nine runs in his first two starts. Martinez knows that, for Sánchez to be successful, he must get his pitches down in the zone.
“He throws about eight different pitches,” the manager said. “He can get the ball down, get it below the hitter’s zone, and he’s really good. When he pitches up, it typically should be when it’s two strikes, kind of just a show-me pitch. We need him to get the ball the down.
“We talked about this with him before last year. He tried to pitch up and it didn’t work out. We said, ‘When you were really good, everything was down.’ He started pitching down last year and he got really, really effective. Hopefully, he goes out there today and he gets the ball down and he gives us the innings we need.”
Sánchez is 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA in six career games at Citi Field. He has struck out 26 batters in 33 2/3 innings at Citi Field, walking 18 and allowing two homers. Sánchez was 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA in two career starts at Shea Stadium.