WASHINGTON -- As of Friday afternoon, the Nationals were still uncertain if right-hander Stephen Strasburg would be able to pitch against the Reds on Sunday afternoon after dealing with an upper back strain.
Strasburg was scheduled to start this past Sunday against the Brewers, but he was placed on the disabled list instead because the back problems flared up during warmups the day before. Strasburg revealed that he popped two ribs out of place during a weight-training mishap last week, causing the back problems. Strasburg said that it was hard to breathe with the ribs out of place, and a chiropractor was called upon to fixed the issue.
However, on Thursday, Strasburg was able to pitch during a bullpen session without any problems. He was eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, but the Nationals didn't make any roster moves before the game. If he is unable to go on Sunday, top prospect Lucas Giolito will likely get the start. Giolito pitched Tuesday against the Mets in his big league debut and tossed four shutout innings in a rain-shortened outing.
"I spoke to Strasburg [Thursday], and he said he said he is feeling pretty good, so we'll see," manager Dusty Baker said. "We are not going to rush him by any means. We just ask him to be honest in his evaluation of himself."
Strasburg said he is taking things one day at a time, but he won't be the one making the final decision about pitching in Sunday's game.
"I don't make the decisions," Strasburg said. "I'm doing everything to get back."
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.