Discomfort ends Strasburg's 'pen session early

Discomfort ends Strasburg's 'pen session early

LOS ANGELES -- Stephen Strasburg felt some discomfort that ended his bullpen session prematurely on Monday afternoon.

He had been scheduled to throw 35 pitches in his second time off the mound since he tore his right pronator tendon and developed weakness in his flexor mass during his last start on Sept. 7. But around the 30th or 31st pitch Monday, Strasburg alerted the Nationals of his discomfort, and they stopped it short.

The Nationals play Game 4 of the National League Division Series today (5:05 p.m. ET/2:05 p.m. PT, FS1), and they hold a 2-1 series edge over the Dodgers.

"He was throwing the ball pretty good; very good, actually," manager Dusty Baker said. "But we said if he felt anything, then just shut it down."

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 7 LAD 4, WAS 3 video
Gm 2 Oct. 9 WSH 5, LAD 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 10 WAS 8, LAD 3 video
Gm 4 Oct. 11 LAD 6, WAS 5 video
Gm 5 Oct. 13 LAD 4, WSH 3 video

Baker did not elaborate on Strasburg's discomfort or the location of it, but he said he was not concerned and Strasburg will continue his throwing program. Baker even compared Strasburg's discomfort to when writers have discomfort in their fingers from too much typing, so they "take a little break and go back tomorrow" he said with a laugh.

"It's no thing," Baker said.

However, Strasburg can scarcely afford a setback.

He had been aiming to join the Nationals potentially in the NL Championship Series or World Series -- if they can advance past the Dodgers in the NLDS -- and it was already unclear whether he would have enough time to rebuild his stamina to start again this postseason.

Strasburg was, at least, on the field Tuesday afternoon playing catch on flat ground stretching his arm out past 90 feet. But the Nationals usually handle him with caution, and they will not rush him back just for this postseason -- especially after he signed a seven-year, $175 million contract extension this past May.

Strasburg threw off a mound for the first time in a month Friday afternoon. He threw only fastballs and changeups, never increasing his intensity to 100 percent. Still, he came off the mound then feeling strong, which was not the case Monday.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.