MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nats seek answers on Strasburg's minor injuries

Right-hander, recovering from trapezius strain, throws off flat ground Wednesday

Nats seek answers on Strasburg's minor injuries

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who is on the disabled list because of a left trapezius strain, threw on flat ground Wednesday without any problems, according to pitching coach Steve McCatty.

The Nationals are trying to figure out why Strasburg is incurring minor injuries. The team is looking at video of Strasburg's starts to try to figure out the problems.

Before the problems on the left side of his neck, Strasburg had to be pushed back in the rotation in early May because of back problems.

Strasburg's problems started when he hurt his ankle during Spring Training. It's possible he picked up bad mechanics after suffering the injury. There is nothing wrong with Strasburg's arm because his fastball is clocked at 98 miles per hour.

"Can I sit here and say it's from the rolling and twisting of his ankle? It may have," McCatty said. "He could have got into some bad habits. Once you get into a bad habit, it's hard to break that bad habit. So one bad habit could lead to another. I can't say for sure."

Strasburg is off to a slow start this season. In 10 starts, he is 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA. McCatty says, however, that Strasburg is working hard to get back on track.

"He is working his butt off. He does it every day," McCatty said. "He wants back out there. He never ducked anything. He never wanted to miss a start. He is fighting hard to get this taken care of, and he wants to get back on the mound."

Outfielder Nate McLouth was at Nationals Park on Wednesday to get his right shoulder looked at by Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, the team's medical director. He was swinging the bat at the team's Spring Training complex when he felt pain in the shoulder.

McLouth has been bothered by shoulder problems ever since last July, when he dove for a ball against the Marlins. He would later have shoulder surgery to repair a labral tear. This year, he played only two Spring Training games, and has yet to play a regular-season game because of the ailing shoulder.

Outfielder Jayson Werth, who is out for two months because of two small fractures in his left wrist, is confident that he will be back to help the team. He said the injury was a best-case scenario.

"It just needs to heal," Werth said. "It's not a ligament, it's not a tendon. It's a couple of cracked bones. It will heal in due time. As soon as they are healed, I can get back to playing."

Werth's wrist injury came on May 15, when he was hit on the left wrist by a pitch from Padres right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne in the top of the second inning.

Werth thought he would be ready to play by the time the Nationals played the Cubs last week. But he wasn't, so he decided to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and that's when the CT scan found the two fractures.

"When I got there, I knew something was up. I knew something wasn't right," Werth said. "I expected to be playing by then and I wasn't even close. It was an easy diagnosis, nothing too crazy. It's going to heal when it heals and I'll be fine."

Right-hander Doug Fister (right forearm tightness) is expected to have a bullpen session on Thursday, his second this week.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.