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Stephen Strasburg returned long enough to get hurt again

Thursday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes Strasburg’s newest injury and Tim Tebow: Pro baseball player.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

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Stephen Strasburg went on the disabled list after his Aug. 17 start due to an elbow injury. The elbow in his throwing arm was sore, and, as a precautionary measure, the Nationals placed him on the DL to see if that would fix the issue. Strasburg made his first start since coming off the DL on Wednesday, and it could be his last start in awhile: His elbow was once again in pain, and he exited after just 42 pitches. Strasburg felt a pinch in his elbow, and he’ll undergo an MRI on Friday to determine if there is any damage, and to what extent.

Strasburg famously underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2010 despite careful monitoring of his workload by the Nats. He then underwent a second elbow procedure, this time to clean loose bodies from the area, in 2013. It’s unknown if surgery will be necessary to fix the current injury, but given it’s Sept. 8 and Strasburg’s elbow continues to be a problem despite weeks of rest on the disabled list, there is the very real possibility that his season is over. That would be bad news for the Nationals in the playoffs, as Joe Ross is already on the 60-day DL and Gio Gonzalez’s days as a game-changing presence feel very far away.

It’s also not the most exhilarating news for the Nats in the long term, considering Strasburg signed a seven-year, $175 million extension that doesn’t even kick in until 2017. There would still be six years left to make it right should Strasburg need to miss significant time for one reason or another, but it’s not exactly how you want to start off an expensive contract. That’s getting ahead of ourselves, though, as Stras hasn’t even had the MRI yet: These are the thoughts we’re all left with until he does, though.