Strained right oblique ends Strasburg's night early
Ace to be examined by team medical director in Washington
ATLANTA -- Stephen Strasburg felt pain from his first pitch through his 37th as he faced the Braves on Friday night at Turner Field, but he didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary.
As it turns out, it's quite out of the ordinary. Strasburg has a strained right oblique and will fly back to Washington to have it examined by the team's medical director, Dr. Wiemi Douoguih.
"It's something that's been nagging a little bit the last few starts, and I've been pitching really well, so I didn't really think about it too much," said Strasburg, who went just two innings -- the shortest start of his career -- before being removed. "There's a lot of times you go out there and you don't feel 100 percent. You've got to go out there and gut through it."
Strasburg gutted through it over those two innings, allowing only one run, on a Freddie Freeman homer, and two hits while striking out two, and throwing 23 of his 37 pitches for strikes. He had convinced himself he was ready to go out for the third inning.
"It was more so after I threw. I think that was kind of affecting the way I was finishing everything," he said in explaining when he felt the pain. "It's kind of hard when you know what you're going to feel after you throw the pitch. You just kind of go out there and try and trick your mind into thinking that it's not going to happen."
Tricking his open mind was easier than tricking the made-up mind of his manager, Davey Johnson, who had already talked with trainer Lee Kuntz.
"Any time you have something, you worry about putting more stress on your arm," said Johnson. "He's a gamer. He wanted to continue, but I saw him wincing every throw he made. Even [catcher Kurt] Suzuki gave the sign, 'It's not real good.' I'm not going to take a chance with his arm. That's the main concern. His side will heal, but when you try to do too much with your hose out there, it's dangerous. So he was not going to continue."
Strasburg had pitched into the sixth inning in all but one of his 11 starts this season -- he went five in the other -- and had been on a roll heading into this one, going 2-1 with a 0.96 ERA over his last four appearances.
He'll now anxiously await the results of the tests and see how much time, if any, he'll miss.
"The biggest thing is figuring out what's going on and getting to the root of the problem -- fix it and get back out there," Strasburg said. "It seemed like it starts to nag me just a little bit more and more as time goes on, so I don't want it to get too worse where I'll be on the shelf for an extended period of time."
Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.