MLB·ROUNDUP

Nats ace Strasburg says 'numbness in my whole hand' led to carpal tunnel surgery

The nerve issue in Stephen Strasburg's wrist that ended his 2020 season after five innings would get aggravated every time he threw a baseball, he said Sunday, and "basically would go from numbness in my thumb to numbness in my whole hand."

Stop-start nature of last year's pandemic-affected schedule tough on pitcher's arm

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg says he began preparing for the upcoming season much earlier than usual, throwing bullpens early in January instead of later in the month. He is coming off carpal tunnel surgery for a nerve issue in his wrist. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images/File)

The nerve issue in Stephen Strasburg's wrist that ended his 2020 season after five innings would get aggravated every time he threw a baseball, he said Sunday, and "basically would go from numbness in my thumb to numbness in my whole hand."

Speaking to reporters for the first time since before he was shut down in August, the Washington Nationals ace said the problem went away immediately after the 15-minute carpal tunnel surgery.

The 2019 World Series MVP began preparing for this season much earlier than usual, doing a light catch on Nov. 1 instead of mid-December, and throwing bullpens early in January instead of late in the month.

"Endurance-wise, stamina-wise, I feel like I'm a lot further along than I have [been] in years past," the right-handed starter explained. "I wanted to give myself some extra time to work through some mechanical things and be ready to go on Day 1."

That he was: The 32-year-old was throwing off a mound alongside teammates during Friday's workout.

'I'm glad he got fixed'

"He's one of our workhorses. And not to see him out there was tough. But for me, if he was ever going to get hurt and ever fix an issue, last year would've been the time," manager Dave Martinez said. "I'm glad he got it fixed, and I'm glad he feels great."

Strasburg said the stop-start nature of last year's pandemic-affected schedule — spring training was stopped in March, then teams resumed preparations in July — was tough on his arm.

There was a period of uncertainty about when the so-called "summer camp" would start, so Strasburg would throw into a net to try to stay ready.

It was when things picked up again that the numbness first surfaced.

"If I knew it was going to start when it did, I definitely would have just not picked up a baseball for some time," he said. "It ended up hurting me more than helped me."

Ex-Blue Jay Aaron Sanchez joins Giants

Right-hander Aaron Sanchez finalized a one-year deal worth $4 million US with the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, giving the club another experienced starter to join Johnny Cueto in the rotation.

The Giants said Sanchez could earn up to $2.5 million more in performance bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for 16 and 18 starts and $500,000 each for 20, 22, 24 and 26 games started. The 2016 all-star for the Toronto Blue Jays has been plagued by injuries in recent years.

Sanchez, 28, hasn't pitched since 2019, sitting out last year's shortened season while recovering from surgery on his pitching shoulder. He went 5-14 with a 5.89 earned-run average over 27 starts and 131 1/3 innings playing for Toronto and Houston.

Sanchez made only 20 starts in 2018 and eight starts the year before because of a blister and split fingernail.

The Giants cleared room on the 40-man roster for Sanchez by designating right-hander Trevor Gott for assignment.

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