Nationals rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg said he felt better before Wednesday night's game against the Atlanta Braves, just one day after being scratched with shoulder inflammation moments before a scheduled start.
Strasburg received treatment on Wednesday morning and afternoon -- stretching and strengthening the muscles around the right shoulder -- but it remains unclear if he will make his next start on Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies. An MRI during the game Tuesday night showed no rotator cuff damage or structural problems with the shoulder. The 21-year-old at times endured similar shoulder stiffness while pitching in college at San Diego State
"It feels a lot better, the range of motion with doing some stretching is starting to come back," Strasburg said. "But we're not going to jump the gun. We just have to take it day-by-day."
Nats head trainer Lee Kuntz said Strasburg would be re-evaluated in "three or four days" as the rest and anti-inflammatory medication do their work. But that timetable would put a bullpen session -- necessary to see if Strasburg is ready to go Sunday, according to manager Jim Riggleman -- in doubt. One day after being scratched, no one in the organization was ready to push the envelope yet. Strasburg has pitched 109 2/3 innings combined between the minor leagues and Washington.
"It's also a point in time for him to learn about his body a little bit," Kuntz said. "Again, a college kid coming here -- this is every five days. It's a lot different from what he was used to. He's learning himself and we're helping him do that."