Stephen Strasburg’s next start is Thursday … in the minors

Leave a comment

Stephen Strasburg was fantastic Saturday in his fifth minor-league rehab start, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning, but the Nationals are resisting the urge to move up his return timetable.

MLB rosters expand Wednesday, so the Nationals could easily call up Strasburg and essentially have him replace Jordan Zimmermann in the rotation, but instead Bill Ladson of reports that the former No. 1 pick will make another rehab start Thursday, likely at Double-A.

He’s slated to throw 75-80 pitches or six innings, which suggests another strong outing could convince the Nationals to activate him from the disabled list almost exactly 12 months after Tommy John elbow surgery. Not only has Strasburg’s mid-90s fastball already returned with 25 strikeouts in 14.1 innings in the minors, his control has been plenty good as well with just three walks.

Daniel Murphy will miss the start of the season

Getty Images

Daniel Murphy said today that he will not be ready for Opening Day and will start the year on the disabled list.

Murphy had microfracture knee surgery last October. While he has been able to take batting practice and field ground balls, his lateral movement is still limited. In his absence — which is not expected to last past mid-April or so — Howie Kendrick will get the bulk of the playing time at second base.

Murphy hit .322/.384/.543, smacked 23 homers and knocked in 93 RBI in 2017.