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Nationals' Stephen Strasburg to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, shown April 7, 2021, has a 1-2 record and 4.57 ERA over five starts this season. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, shown April 7, 2021, has a 1-2 record and 4.57 ERA over five starts this season. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

July 27 (UPI) -- The Washington Nationals will be without pitcher Stephen Strasburg for the rest of the year after the club determined that the three-time All-Star right-hander will require season-ending neck surgery.

Strasburg experienced discomfort after a 27-pitch bullpen session last week and visited a specialist Monday. He was diagnosed with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, and he will undergo the procedure Wednesday in Dallas.

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"It definitely hurts the team," Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters before Tuesday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. "But with that being said, Stephen has worked to try to come back, and unfortunately, this is the step we have to take now.

"Hopefully we get this fixed and he'll be ready to come back and help us next year. I know he's frustrated, as we all are, but sometimes things don't work out like you want, and we've got to move forward."

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Due to multiple injuries, Strasburg has been limited to just seven starts since he was named MVP of the Nationals' World Series victory over the Houston Astros two years ago. He last pitched on June 1 against the Atlanta Braves.

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The 33-year-old Strasburg pitched only five innings in the 2020 season before having season-ending carpal tunnel surgery on his right hand.

Strasburg threw 21 2/3 innings over five starts for the Nationals this season. He ends the year with a 1-2 record and 4.57 ERA.

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Martinez said the team expects Strasburg to be ready for the beginning of spring training next year.

"Hopefully after this procedure is done, it's the next hurdle, recovering and then starting to rehab as soon as he possibly can," Martinez said. "... I know what kind of workhorse he is when healthy."

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