Stephen Strasburg to have Tommy John surgery Friday

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Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced earlier this afternoon that Stephen Strasburg will undergo Tommy John surgery Friday in Los Angeles, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com.

Strasburg underwent a second MRI arthogram during a visit to Dr. Lewis Yocum on Monday, which confirmed last week’s diagnosis of a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

“It was very similar findings,” Rizzo said. “He gave him the physical tests
and was surprised that he could deal with all the physical testing. He
tested very well. Because of the physical tests, he gave him another
arthrogram and found the same thing. And his recommendation was he
needed surgery.”

The surgery will be performed by Yocum, with Nationals team doctor Wiemi Douoguih assisting. The pair also performed Jordan Zimmermann’s surgery last August.

And with that, Strasburg’s rookie season is officially over. The 22-year-old right-hander was 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA over 12 starts with the Nationals, compiling a 92/17 K/BB ratio over 68 innings.

Strasburg will begin physical therapy immediately, but isn’t expected to resume throwing again for four months. The general timeline for a return from Tommy John surgery is approximately 12-18 months, so he’ll likely miss the entire 2011 campaign.

Albert Pujols is eighth on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.

With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.

The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nationals place Max Scherzer on 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation

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The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.

Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.

It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.