Following his team’s 8-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night, manager Dusty Baker confirmed that the right-hander will not take the mound Saturday as originally scheduled. Instead, Washington will call up top pitching prospect Erick Fedde to take his place.
Strasburg exited early from his most recent start Sunday after pitching two scoreless innings against Arizona. On Tuesday morning, he underwent a diagnostic ultrasound that revealed a nerve impingement in his right forearm. Later that afternoon, in keeping with his typical between-starts routine, Strasburg played catch on flat ground in the outfield, and both Baker and general manager Mike Rizzo suggested that the 28-year-old might be available to take his next turn.
“Backed up (Strasburg) just for precaution,” Baker said. “He’ll miss one turn.”
Now that turn is being given to Fedde.
A first-round pick of the Nationals in 2014, Fedde was rated as Washington’s fourth-best prospect by ESPN’s Keith Law entering the season, and the club’s highest-ranked hurler. The 24-year-old righty began the year at Double-A Harrisburg, posting a 3.04 ERA in 17 games, 10 of which came after being converted to a relief role in May.
In early July, three weeks after being promoted to Triple-A Syracuse, Fedde was switched back to being a starter. Overall at Syracuse, he has a 5.57 ERA in 10 games, including four starts. In his most recent outing on July 19, he allowed two runs on seven hits over five innings.
In 2010, Strasburg, the former top overall pick, underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his ulnar collateral ligament. Since recovering from that, he has made five separate trips to the DL, including last August, when he was sidelined with elbow soreness. Two weeks later, in his return, Strasburg exited early after experiencing elbow discomfort that was ultimately diagnosed as a partial tear of his pronator tendon.
This will be Strasburg’s ninth DL stint overall since breaking into the majors in 2010, the second most by any pitcher over that time frame.
Strasburg, who signed a seven-year, $175 million contract in May 2016, is 10-3 with a 3.25 ERA in 20 starts for the first-place Nationals.