Report: Nationals' Stephen Strasburg has 'severe nerve damage'

Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg has "severe nerve damage," leading to doubts he will ever pitch again, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Strasburg, 34, was shut down more than a month ago, unable to take part in any rehabilitation, per the report. He had surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome and hasn't pitched in a game since last June.

He has a history of nerve issues.

After an offseason throwing session at Nationals Park in Washington in February, he reported nerve pain in his neck and shoulder. He missed spring training and was put on the 60-day injured list before Opening Day, and although he is eligible to come off, that isn't in the Nationals' plans.

He had continued to try to stay in shape by working out his lower body, but that stopped because of pain, tingling and numbness.

Strasburg has pitched just 31⅓ innings in three seasons since winning World Series MVP honors in 2019 when Washington beat the Houston Astros in the Fall Classic.

In the 2019 regular season, Strasburg threw 209 innings and finished with an 18-6 record, then signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Nationals. Last season, he made one appearance and pitched 4⅔ innings of a loss to the Miami Marlins on June 9, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

According to the Post, the plan is for Strasburg to rest and see whether the nerve conditions improve.

The team has nothing to lose by playing the waiting game because, per the report, the Nationals are on the hook for the remaining three seasons of his contract. His age and injury history would have made the cost of insuring his contract exorbitant, provided the Nationals even could have found a company willing to provide disability insurance, the Post said.

Strasburg largely has been away from the Nationals. He did not attend their Opening Day game, does not travel with the team and has not spent much time in the locker room before home games, per the Post, which added that manager Dave Martinez no longer includes the pitcher in his injury reports.

Strasburg, a three-time All-Star, has spent his entire 13-year major league career with the Nationals. He was the first overall pick in the 2009 draft out of San Diego State.

He is 113-62 with a 3.24 ERA over 247 career starts. His 1,723 strikeouts ranks first in Nationals franchise history.