In his first game action since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery 11 months ago Stephen Strasburg allowed one run in 1.2 innings at Single-A yesterday, throwing 25 of 30 pitches for strikes and striking out four of the eight batters he faced.
Pitchers often need time to rediscover their peak velocity following Tommy John surgery, but Strasburg’s fastball was clocked in the high-90s and the former No. 1 overall pick told the Associated Press afterward that he “kind of just got that feeling back real quick” thanks in part to adrenaline.
Strasburg even suggested that his post-surgery mechanics feel better and more efficient, telling the AP:
It honestly does. I get on top of the ball a lot better. I’m able to drive the ball down into the zone a lot better, a lot more efficiency. Before, I just wasn’t in as good a shape. I think the biggest reason I broke down is because I just got tired. I wasn’t necessarily prepared for a full season.
He’s scheduled to start again in the minors Friday, at which point the Nationals will probably go against Rob Dibble’s sage advice and map out a timetable his return to the majors in September.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.