After making an early exit from last night’s start, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to neck tightness.
Strasburg threw just 16 pitches in his start against the Reds last night before leaving in the bottom of the second inning. The specific diagnosis was tightness in his left trapezius muscle. Strasburg left a start against the Marlins on May 5 with discomfort under his right shoulder blade, but it’s unclear whether the issues are related.
One thing that is clear is that Strasburg hasn’t looked like himself for a while now. He owns a 6.55 ERA through 10 starts this season (second-highest in the majors among pitchers with 40 innings pitched) and hasn’t completed six innings in a start since April 25. He has a 45/14 K/BB ratio over 45 1/3 innings and his velocity has been fine, but his swinging strike rate sits at seven percent, which is four percent below his career average and 1.9 percent below the league average for starters so far this season.
It’s worth noting that Strasburg sprained his left ankle late in spring training, so some have speculated that he changed something to compensate for the injury. Who knows if that’s actually the case, but simply getting some time off just to regroup could be beneficial.
On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.
There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.
Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.
Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.