Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports that Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg will not start on Thursday due to ongoing nerve irritation in his right hand. It’s the second scheduled start of the 2020 regular season that Strasburg has missed. Erick Fedde will start in Strasburg’s place against the Blue Jays.
Strasburg, 32, re-signed with the Nationals on a seven-year, $245 million contract in December. Understandably, the Nationals are being cautious with the prized right-hander.
Last season, Strasburg went 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA, 251 strikeouts, and 56 walks over 209 innings, helping pitch the Nationals into the postseason. In the playoffs, Strasburg held the opposition to eight earned runs while striking out 47 and walking four in 36 1/3 innings. He earned World Series honors after the Nationals toppled the Astros to win the first championship in franchise history.
The Nationals are 1-4 to begin the season. They did get some good news on Wednesday: Juan Soto, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, has tested negative on back-to-back tests. He is awaiting clearance from Major League Baseball as well as the city’s health department. Soto could return to the team in the coming days, bolstering a lineup that has missed him.