Stephen Strasburg left Friday night's start early and the Nationals are temporarily prepared to move on. Strasburg exited with neck tightness, and according to MLB.com's William Ladson, the Nationals placed Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday afternoon. Taylor Hill was recalled in the corresponding roster move.
While the team announced Strasburg was plagued by "neck tightness," according to Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post, Nationals Manager Matt Williams described Strasburg's injury as a "back issue."
Strasburg, 26, has posted a 6.55 ERA and 3.97 FIP through 45.1 innings to this point in 2015. Ladson adds Strasburg was evaluated by a team doctor and Strasburg may benefit from his time on the disabled list. He is coming off of a 14-11 season during which he posted 3.14 ERA and 2.94 FIP in 215.0 innings and after a slow start could reflect and adjust.
Washington was concerned about Strasburg's health throughout spring training and he has only pitched 16 total innings over his last five starts. The Nationals were expecting Strasburg to anchor their rotation, however his struggles have resulted in a consistently taxed bullpen since he has averaged close to three innings a start throughout the month of May. Strasburg has also allowed 17 runs this month which has put Washington's offense behind early.
Strasburg, who has not lasted more than five innings since April 25, left his May 5 start with back soreness. He sprained his ankle during spring training and some speculate mechanical changes that resulted from the ankle injury have caused back trouble and limited his ability to throw strikes consistently. Strasburg will continue to throw while he is on the disabled list until a diagnosis is made and a doctor suggests otherwise.
The Nationals have not yet determined who will start in Strasburg's spot next week but Taylor Hill will serve as the club's long reliever. Taylor Jordan pitched 4.1 innings after Strasburg exited on Friday and as a result Washington required additional long relief depth. Both Jordan and A.J. Cole could replace Strasburg in the rotation while he is sidelined.