Strasburg leaves start early with leg issue; ‘nothing major’

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg left his second spring training start in the third inning Sunday because of a problem with his left calf that he calls “nothing major.”

The 2019 World Series MVP, whose 2020 season was cut to just five innings because he needed carpal tunnel surgery on his right wrist, said his calf “grabbed” as he stood on that leg at the end of his pitching motion.

“Just kind of more of a precautionary thing and just kind of take it day-to-day and see how it feels tomorrow,” said Strasburg, who allowed one hit, struck out four and walked one in 2 1/3 scoreless innings of Washington’s game against the Houston Astros.

“Luckily, I feel like I’m a fast healer,” he said, “so I don’t think it would be something that could be a prolonged absence.”

Manager Dave Martinez and trainer Paul Lessard went out to the mound to check on the right-hander before he left the game.

He said he was looked at by a team doctor and had an ultrasound exam.

Strasburg threw 45 pitches and said that before the calf became problematic, his fastball and changeup felt better than they did in his initial Grapefruit League outing five days earlier.

“I didn’t really feel it at all except for that last pitch, where I kind of felt it simultaneously as I was finishing the pitch,” Strasburg said.

“I’ve had my calves cramping up on me in the past and I’ve pitched through that,” he said. “This was definitely something a little different, but not something I couldn’t have pitched through if it was a bigger game, I guess.”

Opening day is April 1.

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