Davey Martinez spoke at length at the 2022 winter meetings about the club’s expectations for Stephen Strasburg in 2023 after three seasons of injuries and surgery that have limited him to just eight starts and 31 1⁄3 pitched innings in the majors.
“I won’t put any more pressure on Strasbourg,” said the coach.
“I know he’s in rehab right now. He’s making progress. If he’s ready and we think he’s ready, it will be great to see him up that hill.”
Strasburg, 34, made three starts with the Minors in 2022 (with a 1.98 ERA over 13 2⁄3 IP) as he worked his way back up the hill in the majors, but only one game in the big leagues before getting back on the injury list.
Martinez said this time if he comes back will he make Strasbourg start at home?
“I promise the fans that when he steps onto the mound he will be home.
“If he does, we’ll start him at home.”
If Strasbourg comes to the hill in 2023, who cares where it is? I think the fans do, but wouldn’t you settle for seeing him somewhere on the hill?
Strasburg’s only start in 2022 was in Miami, but after the long recovery process from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, he suffered a setback and did not compete again.
In early December (’22), Martinez said progress was slow and the ’09 No. 1 overall pick had not started pitching at that time.
“He’s coming with me,” said the manager.
“He’s making progress. He’s not throwing yet, but he’s definitely gaining a lot more power. For me that is a good sign.”
Martinez declined to offer a timeline for Strasburg’s potential return to the mound.
“I will not have any expectations of him at the moment,” said the Nats skipper.
“All I can tell you is that he works really hard. He wants to pitch again and that’s a plus for us.
“So if he’s ready and we think he’s ready, let’s hope that’ll be sometime this year and soon, then he’ll be like signing a big free agent for us. He really is.”
GM Mike Rizzo echoed the manager’s sentiment when speaking at the 22 Winter Meetings.
They will not pressure him as to a timetable for his eventual return to the Hill.
“We’re not setting up timelines or milestones for him to pass,” Rizzo said.
“We’re going to be very careful with him and just make sure he’s feeling good when he comes back and until then we’re just going to rehab him and monitor his progress.”
Strasburg, speaking to Washington Post reporter Jesse Dougherty in September last year, appeared aware of his own situation as off-the-hill time piles up and the chances of a return to form seem ever further away.
“Every time I’ve had an injury, I felt like I was going to be the best to come back,” Strasburg told the WaPost reporter mid-September 22.
“That’s definitely still a big question mark.”
“I realize the clock is ticking,” said the 13-year veteran.
“It’s been almost three years since I’ve been able to pitch in competitions and it’s not like I’m getting any younger.”
“I know Stras is working extremely hard to do what he can do and then we’ll have to see [where] The rehab process happens later in the winter,” Rizzo said at the end of the 2022 campaign. “We’re going to be monitoring him, and he’s local, so we’re going to see him all the time and see where he goes into spring training mode.”
What, if anything, do you expect the Strasbourg Nats to get in the fourth year of the $7-year/$245 million free-agent deal he signed after helping the club, the World Win Series 2019? Did we see his last start in the majors?