BALTIMORE - The Nationals announced that right-hander Stephen Strasburg has been placed on the 10-day injured list with carpal tunnel neuritis of the right hand. The team has recalled right-handed pitcher Ryne Harper from the alternate training site in Fredericksburg, Va.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, also called median nerve compression, is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hand. According to webmd.com, the syndrome “happens because of pressure on your median nerve, which runs the length of your arm, goes through a passage in your wrist called the carpal tunnel, and ends in your hand. The median controls the movement and feeling of your thumb and the movement of all your fingers except your pinky.” Neuritis is an inflammation of a nerve.
Strasburg, 32, has gone 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in two starts this season and had to leave Friday’s start after recording two outs in the first inning when the tingling in his hand began. The last time Strasburg was on the injured list was Aug. 22, 2018.
“I talked to director of athletic training Paul Lessard after the game,” said manager Davey Martinez during his postgame Zoom video call Friday night. “I talked to Stephen after the game. I am going to do everything I can to take care of him. I don’t want to see him out there shaking his hand in pain. I think the best thing right now is to kind of shut him down and see if we can get it straightened out.”
Martinez said he wanted to be extremely cautious with Strasburg this season because he wants to make sure the right-hander returns to full health so he can pitch with the Nats for years to come.
“I hope he understands,” Martinez said. “And I hope he knows where I am coming from and where our medical staff is coming from. He’s going to be here for a lot of years. He’s going to pitch a lot of innings. In order to do that he’s got to be healthy. I told him, ‘Hey, you did everything you can. It’s a weird injury for you, so let’s just try to get it right.’”
This means that Erick Fedde will be elevated into the starting rotation after being the designated insurance policy on the mound for Strasburg and Max Scherzer to begin the season. Fedde was outstanding in the piggyback role Friday, racking up 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits with three walks for his first win of the season after Strasburg’s injury forced him out of the game. Fedde has a 2.55 ERA in five outings (two starts) this season.
The 31-year-old Harper has made nine appearances and has a 1-0 record with an 8.10 ERA. He has 12 strikeouts and four walks in 10 innings. The right-hander has thrown six scoreless relief appearances in his first season with the Nats.