Stephen Strasburg injury: Nationals ace leaves after 2 innings

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals' ace Stephen Strasburg was pulled from Friday's game after two innings after experiencing lower back pain.

The Nationals' Stephen Strasburg left the game against the Atlanta Braves Friday night after the second inning with a muscular issue in his lower back, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

Strasburg started the second inning by giving up a massive home run to Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. The blast came on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, a 97 mph fastball. Strasburg then struck out Evan Gattis, reaching 98 mph on his two fastballs during that at-bat. While facing Brian McCann, Strasburg followed a 96 mph fastball with two consecutive change-ups. After those two pitches, his fastball velocity dropped to the 93-95 range mph for the remainder of the inning. He managed to induce a ground out from McCann, but he was visibly uncomfortable during the at-bat. He managed to end the inning with a strike out against Dan Uggla, but following a long conversation with manager Davey Johnson, he was replaced by Craig Stammen. Kilgore reports that the back issue has apparently plagued Strasburg for some time prior to his early exit tonight, though it is not yet known when he first began to experience pain in that area.

Strasburg is 3-5 on the season despite a 2.49 ERA, the 10th best mark in the National League. He has been the hardest-throwing pitcher in the game as well, averaging 95.4 mph on his fastball. The drop in velocity tonight is certainly noteworthy for fans, but as the injury is in his lower back and not in his pitching arm, there is no reason to believe the issue will have long-term repercussions at this point.

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