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Nationals GM casts doubt on Stephen Strasburg returning this season

Washington Nationals general manager and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo provided a sobering update on Wednesday about Stephen Strasburg’s progress in overcoming a nerve issue. Making matters worse, Rizzo expressed uncertainty about whether Strasburg will be able to return this season.

The ongoing confusion over Rizzo’s nerve issue — initially caused by a wrist impingement — stems from the inability to arrive at any clarity about what is causing it.

Appearing Wednesday on D.C.’s 106.7 “The Sports Junkies” radio show, Rizzo shed light on how things may proceed going forward in light of the mysterious nature of Strasburg’s issue.

“I’m not sure where we’re at with the rest of the season,” Rizzo said, as transcribed by NBC Sports Washington. “We’re going to obviously, with this truncated season, we’re going to be ultra-cautious with these players. Starlin Castro, the same thing. And Stras. Really, everybody we’ve got on our roster. We’re going to take it very carefully and cautiously. We want to knock this thing out and get this thing behind us. Then Stras would have to ramp back up after about two weeks off. He’d have to ramp back up. We’ll see about the remainder of this season. But we will take it very cautiously with him.”

Strasburg currently sits idled after being placed on the 10-day IL last Saturday as the Nationals explore their options. Even if the perplexing situation were to suddenly change course, Strasburg presumably would need up to two weeks to get himself back up to speed and ready for action.

As things stand, the Nationals are in a holding pattern after “nerve testing throughout his body” failed to establish the cause of the issue. Rizzo did say that it’s a “repetition injury” that has inhibited Strasburg’s ability to spin his curveball.

“We’re going to get the experts to weigh in before we make any diagnosis or timetable,” said of Strasburg’s status.

The Nationals currently reside in the NL East cellar with a 9-12 record, but sit only three games back of the division-leading Atlanta Braves. Given an optimistic timeline for recovery, Strasburg (0-1, 2 GS, 10.80 ERA, 1.80 WHIP) could get in around six starts before the expanded postseason.