Stephen Strasburg to Return Sunday For Washington Nationals

By Brian Skinnell
Daniel Shirey-USA Today Sports

According to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, the Washington Nationals have activated right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg. He will be starting tonight’s rubber-match game against the Cleveland Indians. Strasburg has been on the disabled list after suffering a grade-one lat strain on May 31.

Following straining his lat-muscle, Strasburg left a little bit of hope when he told reporters that he thought he could make his next start. That would not be the case and the Nationals ace was placed on the 15-day DL. Strasburg then pitched a series of bullpen sessions and simulated games that reportedly, got progressively better each session. His reactivation is right on schedule with what the Nationals had planned from the get-go.

Prior to going to the DL, Strasburg was 3-5 with a 2.54 ERA and  had 73 strikeouts. We have seen the best of Stephen Strasburg, he pitched seven-scoreless innings on Opening Day against the Miami Marlins, and the worst of Stephen Strasburg, he pitched just 5.1 innings and gave up six runs in his next outing against the Cincinnati Reds, this season. It has certainly been quite a different Stephen Strasburg than we’re used to seeing.

While Strasburg has not been as dominant as years past, his presence on the diamond is something that may bring fans a relaxed feeling about where this season is heading. When Strasburg was first yanked from the game May 31, many feared that it had something to do with his surgically repaired elbow. Luckily, Strasburg’s injury was something that he was able to recover from with a little tender-loving-care.

His return today against the Indians will be a good test. At any given moment, the Indians can swing a hot bat and put up multiple runs in an inning, i.e. last night. Lifetime against the Indians, Strasburg has held the ball-club’s batters to a .238 batting average and .260 slugging percentage. He’s given up no home runs and has nine strikeouts.

For Nationals fans, hopefully this stint on the disabled-list is exactly what their star pitcher needed. We have seen glimpses of the Stephen Strasburg of 2012, but those have been few and far between this year. Luckily for the Nationals, Jordan Zimmermann has been able to pick up the slack where Strasburg has fallen off.

With Strasburg now back, the Nationals rotation is complete yet again, with Ross Detwiler also returning this past week. Defensively, the team is hardly missing Danny Espinosa at second base with Anthony Rendon playing so well for them lately. All that’s left on the bench is sophomore sensation Bryce Harper who is set to return this coming week.

Brian Skinnell is an MLB and NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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