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Sports News

Rookie Strasburg sidelined with inflamed shoulder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg has inflammation in his pitching shoulder and his next start is unknown, the team said just seven weeks after he made one of the most talked about debuts in years.

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg delivers a pitch to the Cincinnati Reds during the fifth inning of play in their National League MLB baseball game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 21, 2010. REUTERS/John Sommers II

The inflammation was discovered after Strasburg, the 2009 top draft pick, was scratched minutes before a scheduled start against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, the team said on its website. (washington.nationals.mlb.com).

Strasburg, who mixes a high-velocity fastball with good off-speed pitches, was scheduled to pitch again Sunday but the Nationals have him listed as day-to-day.

“He was having problems getting loose in the bullpen, so I pulled the plug on it -- precautionary move,” said Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo. “There is no shooting of pain or anything like that in his shoulder or elbow. He was just struggling to get loose.”

The 22-year-old pitcher, who struck out 14 batters in his June 8 debut with the club, has since thrilled Nationals fans as he compiled a 5-2 record with a 2.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts in nine starts.

Strasburg noticed a stiffness in his shoulder while warming up, pitching coach Steve McCatty said. The right-hander said he could still pitch the game but McCatty felt different.

“That was it,” McCatty said. “I told Strasburg, ‘We are not going to take a chance.’ There is no reason to.”

An X-ray and additional tests revealed the inflammation but no structural damage.

Rizzo said Strasburg had similar problems while pitching at San Diego State University and added that the pitcher will be on anti-inflammatories and in treatment.

Miguel Batista, making his first start in nearly two years in place of Strasburg, went five scoreless innings for his first win of the season as the Nationals beat the Braves 3-0.

Writing by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue

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