Amid a swirl of rumors that the team would shut him down for the duration of the season, the Nationals have announced that Stephen Strasburg will make a return start on Saturday against the Miami Marlins.
Manager Davey Johnson broke the news on Friday afternoon, but with the Nationals still battling for a playoff spot, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 8th with some diagnosed forearm tightness, and with his history of elbow trouble, the Nationals have proceeded with extreme caution surrounding their ace right-hander.
To begin Friday, the Nationals were trailing by 5 games in the NL Wild Card, and to be fair, are still technically alive in the NL East race despite a rapidly dwindling magic number for the Braves. Strasburg in the rotation presents them with their best possible chance at victory, and the guy with a career 2.95 ERA and 10.55 K/9 would be the best option for most clubs.
It’s great for baseball to see Strasburg on the hill, and even if it is too little too late for the Nationals, the sport is better when the game’s best talents are on display.