Stephen Strasburg dealt with what he referred to as a “knot” in his back during the 2015 season. Now his agent says that the knot was really a non-cancerous “muscular” growth that was surgically removed from his back last month.
After laboring through his first 10 starts with an uncharacteristic 3-5 record and 6.55 ERA, Strasburg landed on the disabled list for the first time on May 30. Strasburg emerged from the DL appearing healthy and confident, winning his first two starts before a strained left oblique suffered on July 4 caused the right-hander to miss another month.
Strasburg returned to the mound in dominant fashion on Aug. 8 with 12 strikeouts in a 6-1 over the Rockies. The 27-year-old pitched brilliantly for the rest of the month until the knot in his back interfered with his season again, cutting a start against the Marlins short on Aug. 30.
“To be honest, it’s been tough,” Strasburg said after that four-inning outing. “But I think it’s going to make me stronger as a person and as a player. It’s not the way I drew it up, but everything happens for a reason. I’m just going to keep grinding. I’m not going to quit. I know that it’s all going to come out in the wash eventually.”
After missing his spot in the rotation, Strasburg proceeded to put on a show in September, striking out double-digit batters in four straight games. On Sept. 15, Strasburg became just the fourth pitcher since 1900 to hold the Phillies to one hit while fanning 14 or more in a game, joining Nolan Ryan (Mets), Tom Seaver (Mets) and Warren Spahn (Braves).
In his final 13 starts of the season, Strasburg went 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA. He struck out a whopping 110 batters and walked just 12 over 82 innings.
According to Scott Boras, Strasburg’s agent, the knot was actually a non-cancerous growth. FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi reports from the general managers meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., that Boras said Strasburg had successful surgery to remove the “muscular” growth from his back about a month ago and the right-hander is doing well.
Scott Boras said Stephen Strasburg had a non-cancerous growth surgically removed from his back about one month ago.-- Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 11, 2015
Boras said growth was “muscular” in origin and caused discomfort while pitching; said surgery was successful and Strasburg is doing well.-- Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 11, 2015
Strasburg is entering the final year of his contract with the Nationals leading to trade speculation. On Tuesday, Morosi reported that Nats general manager Mike Rizzo said he hasn’t been contacted by another GM this week about Strasburg’s potential availability.