Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg has not been able to perform any rehabilitation activities for more than a month and has been shut down from all physical activity, according to a report from Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post.
Strasburg’s latest issue involves “severe nerve damage” which has led to increasing doubt within the organization that the 34-year-old will ever pitch again. Strasburg has not pitched since last June when he was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. He was shut down for the rest of the season and subsequently missed all of spring training with ongoing complications.
The Nationals star was placed on the 60-day injured list before the start of the season, and the team hoped that he would be able to pitch sometime this season. Dougherty notes that Strasburg is technically eligible to come off the injured list this week, but there’s no sign that he will return in the near future, “if at all.”
Strasburg’s current plan is to rest in hopes that he can manage the nerve pain enough to continue pitching, although the current outlook on his nerve damage is “not promising.”
Following Washington’s 2019 World Series title, Strasburg inked a seven-year, $245 million extension. There are still three seasons remaining on the contract for the Nationals, but sources told Dougherty that Washington does not have any disability insurance on the contract that would provide the franchise an out on the agreement.
The reason there is not disability insurance on the contract is because the premiums on the insurance would have been extremely high given Strasburg’s age and extensive injury history. Additionally, sources told Dougherty that they doubt that Washington’s front office and ownership group would have spent the extra money for the insurance to cover the worst case scenario for Strasburg on top of his already massive $245 million contract.
Before being diagnosed with severe nerve damage, Strasburg told The Post last September that he was having doubts about whether he could consistently pitch at the major league level again.
“At this point, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do this consistently on a major league mound again,” Strasburg said at the time. “But I’m not ready to hang it up quite yet. It’s just kind of trying not to think about that and focus on feeling good and getting a little bit better every single day.”
With Strasburg’s latest setback, the end of his career may be coming sooner than even he thought last fall.