Well, Stephen Strasburg just passed his latest test with flying colors.
Strasburg allowed just two hits over three shutout innings tonight for High-A Potomac, striking out five and walking none. Both hits were infield singles.
The plan was for Strasburg to throw either five innings or 50 pitches, so he was pulled after throwing 26 out of 33 pitches for strikes. He was so efficient that he was sent to the bullpen to throw another inning’s worth of pitches.
Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Strasburg consistently sat around 98 mph on his fastball in the first inning and topped out at 99 mph to record a strikeout in the second inning. While he drew the usual raves for his knee-buckling curveball, he also recorded a pair of strikeouts in his final inning on 90 mph changeups. 90 mph changeups? Yep, they’re back.
Strasburg has allowed one run and struck out nine in 4 2/3 innings over his first two rehab starts. Barring any setbacks, he is expected to pitch in the major leagues in September.
Mets left-hander Jason Vargas has a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand, the team announced Sunday. Vargas sustained the injury after taking a comebacker off of his hand on Friday and is expected to consult with a hand specialist later today as the team settles on a course of action. Comments from GM Sandy Alderson indicate that surgery is a possibility, though the left-hander may also pitch through it for the time being.
Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the team last month. He completed a four-year run with the Royals in 2017, earning his first career All-Star nomination with an 18-11 record in 32 starts and producing a 4.16 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 6.7 SO/9 over 179 2/3 innings. Prior to the incident, the southpaw was expected to help fill out the back end of the Mets’ Opening Day rotation.
Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates that Vargas will likely miss the start of the season as he faces a two- to six-week recovery period. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a pitching staff that has been absolutely ravaged by injuries over the last couple of years.