MLB Spring Training: Stephen Strasburg and Jacob deGrom are already nursing injuries when camp opens

Pitchers and catchers report for camp this week and begin spring training in Major League Baseball. We’ll see a litany of nagging injuries unlikely to impact the regular season, especially when something happens so early, several weeks before the actual games.

However, sometimes things happen that should draw attention, even if it’s just a little.

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg and Rangers ace Jacob deGrom are both already struggling with injuries.

Strasburg started shedding a hill a couple of weeks ago and has come through his first session with no qualms. The second time, however, he felt a “return of the nerve problem.” reports Mark Zuckerman of MASN. Strasburg underwent surgery in 2021 to relieve neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome and returned to make a start last season before returning to the injured list for the remainder of the season.

Thoracic outlet syndrome has ruined many a pitcher’s career, so at least there’s concern that he’ll never be fully functional on the mound again. In 2019, he was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA and 251 strikeouts in NL-best 209 innings. He then was dominant in six postseason appearances (five starts) and won the MVP in the Nationals’ first-ever World Series title. He signed a seven-year, $245 million contract to remain with the Nats the following offseason, but he has managed just eight starts in the three seasons since then.

As for deGrom, he signed a five-year, $185 million contract with the Rangers last offseason after spending nine years in the big league with the Mets. He didn’t host his first official bullpen session as a member of Rangers on Wednesday because he was dealing with left oblique narrowness, according to Rangers (via Rangers Today).

deGrom is arguably the best pitcher in baseball as of the start of the 2018 season. In 102 starts during that tenure, he has a 2.05 ERA, 2.14 FIP, and .87 WHIP with 876 strikeouts in 645 1/3 innings. He won the NL Cy Young in 2018 and 2019, and you could argue he should have won them in 2020. He then had a 1.08 ERA in 15 starts in 2021, but one injury struck. Since the 2021 All-Star break, deGrom has only made 12 starts, including the 2022 playoffs.

Injuries over the past season and a half have included a right forearm strain, right elbow pain and a stress reaction in his right shoulder.

If Rangers fans are looking for a silver lining here, the problem now lies in deGrom’s left slash. Still, it’s a bit of an eyebrow raiser.

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