Stephen Strasburg expected to return for series against Mets next week

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Stephen Strasburg is having his turn skipped this Friday against the Braves after he came out his most recent start last Sunday with discomfort in his upper back, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNMidAtlantic.com reports that he’s on track to return for a crucial series against the first-place Mets next week.

After throwing off flat ground on Tuesday and Wednesday, Strasburg made it through a bullpen session this afternoon with no pain. The plan calls for him to make his return in the series finale against the Mets next Wednesday, with Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmerman pitching in the first two games.

Strasburg has been much more like his usual self since June, but he showed a noticeable dip in velocity in his start against the Marlins last Sunday while allowing four runs on four hits (including two home runs) over four innings. The Nationals will have to hope that the time off did him some good.

Police are keeping reporters away from owners at the owners meetings

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The owners meetings are going on in Arlington, Texas right now and something unusual is happening: the owners are using police to shield them from reporters seeking comment.

Chandler Rome, the Astros beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, attempted to talk to Astros owner Jim Crane at the hotel in which the meetings are taking place. Which makes sense because, duh, Rome covers the Astros and, if you haven’t noticed, the Astros are in the news lately.

Here’s how it went:

This was confirmed by other reporters:

To be clear: this is a radically different way things have ever been handled at MLB meetings of any kind. Reporters — who are credentialed specifically for these meetings at this location, they’re not just showing up — approach the GMs or the owners or whoever as they walk in the public parts of the hotel in which they’re held or in the areas designated for press conferences. It’s not contentious. Usually the figures of interest will stop and talk a bit then move on. If they don’t want to talk they just keep walking, often offering apologies or an excuse about being late for something and say they’ll be available later. It’s chill as far as reporters vs. the powerful tend to go.

But apparently not today. Not at the owners meetings. Now police — who are apparently off duty on contract security, but armed and in full official uniform — are shielding The Lords of Baseball from scrutiny.

We live in interesting times.