Nationals’ Crisis with both Stephen Strasburg and Trea Turner out

Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg to have season-ending neck surgery
from Zac Wassink with

Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg hasn’t pitched since June 1 because of what was first reported to be a neck strain and won’t return until some time next year.

Per Paul Casella of the MLB website, Washington manager Dave Martinez confirmed Tuesday that Strasburg will undergo season-ending surgery on Wednesday after he was diagnosed with a neurogenic thoracic outlet condition. Martinez added that the Nationals are hopeful the 2019 World Series Most Valuable Player will be ready for the beginning of the 2022 campaign.

Strasburg went on the injured list June 2 and then experienced a setback related to a bullpen session on July 9. After encountering similar discomfort following a July 21 session, he was evaluated by a neck specialist on Monday.

It’s a brutal blow for the veteran who recently turned 33 years old, as he was limited to two starts and five innings of work during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season before he had carpal tunnel surgery that shut him down through the end of that year.

Strasburg ends the current campaign with a 1-2 record and a 4.57 ERA accumulated over only five starts.

The Nationals began Tuesday evening trailing the first-place New York Mets by eight-and-a-half games in the National League East standings and are expected to be sellers ahead of Friday’s trade deadline.

Trea Turner tests positive for COVID-19
from MLB Trade Rumors with Anthony Franco and from

Nationals star shortstop Trea Turner has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced. Turner was removed from Tuesday evening’s game against the Phillies in the first inning after the result came in. Fellow infielder Luis Garcia is likely to be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to replace Turner on the active roster, reports Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post.

It’s a shocking development for a player who recently surfaced in trade rumors. Upon Turner’s mid-game exit, plenty of speculation emerged about a potential deal being in the works. Instead, his removal is a result of a positive test.

Placement on the COVID IL doesn’t come with a minimum stint, although the fact that Turner tested positive suggests he’s likely to miss at least ten days while quarantining. Players on the injured list can still be traded, so tonight’s news doesn’t entirely eliminate the possibility of a midseason deal.

That always seemed a bit unlikely, though, given Turner’s star play and the Nationals’ desire to compete again in 2022 (and perhaps to not throw in the towel on the 2021 season). Uncertainty about his health status only figures to complicate any trade talks, casting even more doubt on the possibility of Turner changing teams by Friday.

Obviously, Turner’s health is of paramount importance. The Nationals haven’t offered further comment beyond the news of his positive test result, but it’s notable that Turner felt well enough to take the field tonight before his positive test became known to the organization.