Stephen Strasburg made his return to the mound for the Washington Nationals after riding the pine for six weeks with an injury. It would be expected that after that much of a layoff, a little rust would be evident, but Strasburg looked beyond rusty only lasting 4 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits. His command was reported to be okay, but not up to his usual level, and his velocity was a little off, which was to be expected. The main concern during his brief outing was that his pitches didn’t look live, and he didn’t look very comfortable. There was also that intangible something that he was missing from his game.
When Strasburg left the game with two outs in the fifth, he headed to the dugout, where staff ace, Max Scherzer, put his hand on Starsburg’s shoulder and said something that hasn’t been picked up yet as no cameras were positioned in a way where what he was saying could be seen. Strasburg took a seat on the bench, momentarily, as the pair exchanged another round of words. At that particular point, the situation rapidly escalated into what appears to have been an altercation.
According to Deadspin, Strasburg bolted up from his seat on the bench quickly, wearing a perturbed expression, and made his way to the dugout tunnel, where Scherzer followed him. After that point, what happened or what was said has not been leaked by anyone yet. At the conclusion of the game, reporters were kept out of the clubhouse for about 15 minutes longer than usual before being granted entry. Strasburg fielded several questions about the altercation, according to ESPN, but declined to provide reporters with any specifics regarding what he and Scherzer exchanged words about.
Aside from a few comments about his performance on the field, Strasburg had little to say. With each question about the incident, Strasburg would only say some variation of a single statement over and over.
“It’s part of family, man. You got to be in the family. You’ve got to be in the family. You’re not.”
Scherzer was not available for comment, but Nationals skipper Davey Martinez told reporters in a post-game interview that he talked with Strasburg and Scherzer and everything is good between them. He offered no specifics of what they said to each other, only that they had a really good conversation, and everything was worked out and the issue has been put to bed.
“It was addressed,” Martinez said. “Look, they’re very competitive. Everybody is. I’m glad we talked. It’s over. Let’s move forward. These guys are professionals. We’re good. I’m good that we had the conversation. This stuff happens. I’ve been on teams where guys wanted to choke each other. It’s a long season. They get it. They understand. We talk about it. I don’t want to lose sleep about it. It was a really good conversation. I’ll just leave it at that. Things are good.”