Bits: Key injuries in the news yet again 

April, 30, 2013
On Monday afternoon, colleague Tristan H. Cockcroft and I debated the relatively disappointing early-season numbers from Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, touching on his lack of wins, his lower strikeout rate and the fact that the No. 3 starting pitcher in ESPN average live drafts entered Monday's outing in Atlanta outside the top 50 starters on the Player Rater. We did not need to discuss Strasburg's durability.

After Strasburg struggled a bit in the first inning yet again Monday but still finished with more than passable numbers (6 innings, 2 runs, 8 strikeouts), Nationals fans and fantasy owners were reminded that there are worse things than merely "average" numbers: Strasburg was diagnosed with right forearm tightness. He's scheduled to be re-examined Tuesday. While Strasburg told reporters he thinks he will make his next start (scheduled for Saturday at Pittsburgh), let's just say, given his injury history, the Nationals are likely to play it safe with him.

[+] EnlargeStephen Strasburg
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsStephen Strasburg currently ranks 74th among all pitchers on the 2013 ESPN Player Rater.
After all, Strasburg is an ace expected of big things, and coming off the ridiculous hoopla of 2012, when his season was shut down prematurely before the end of September, caution seems warranted. In a vacuum, forearm tightness is often a precursor to elbow ligament damage. Of course, Strasburg already has undergone one Tommy John surgery (in 2011). During the game, he could be seen shaking his arm on a few occasions, likely trying to ease discomfort in the forearm. His command was also way off, as he issued four walks, throwing only 53 of 93 pitches for strikes. And his ERA since winning Opening Day is an un-Strasburg-like 3.86, while opponents are hitting .379 off him in the first inning.