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Stephen Strasburg blames All-Star Game for elbow issue

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Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg said he might not participate in future All-Star Games as he believes last season’s elbow injury was due to a change in his routine while at the 2017 All-Star Game in Miami. Here’s what Strasburg said, via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post:

Might have to rethink about if I’m going to actually pitch or not pitch in an All-Star Game, whether I’ll actually go all together. That was the issue I felt like was the reason why I got hurt. I was on such a good program with the training staff and massage therapists — I was in this routine. Then all of a sudden you’re asked to throw, potentially pitch — maybe not — but not have any access or ability to really stick to your routine. Once that’s over, it’s like right back into it. Bullpen, day off, game. I just know that little lapse, for whatever reason, it pushed me back a bit. It started making my arm hurt.

[…]

My arm felt good before that, then it was like after [the All-Star Game], it just didn’t feel right. I’m glad at that point I kind of tried to put my pride aside and say, hey, I want to be there in the end. So we just had to get it right. No point in pushing through it. I’m glad it worked out that way.

It’s worth noting that the Nationals will host the 2018 All-Star Game.

Strasburg, 29, posted a 3.43 ERA in the first half. In his second start of the second half, he lasted only two innings and soon went on the disabled list for nearly a month with a nerve impingement in his right elbow. He returned in mid-August and compiled a 0.84 ERA across eight starts through the rest of the regular season.

In the past, some players have turned down invitations to participate in the Home Run Derby, citing various reasons like the event potentially messing up their swings or wanting to avoid risking injury. We usually don’t see it for the All-Star Game, but Strasburg may start a new trend.

Josh Donaldson is still seeking a long-term deal with the Blue Jays

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If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.

“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.

Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.