Stephen Strasburg pulled from rehab program after feeling discomfort in neck

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Stephen Strasburg felt an "uncomfortable" feeling in his neck after his latest throwing session, resulting in the Nationals backing him down from the rehab program he's been on since suffering a neck strain in June.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez announced the latest setback in Strasburg's recovery on Friday, saying, "once again, he had an uncomfortable feeling in his neck, so we backed him down again and now we're going to have to figure something else out for him."

Strasburg last pitched 1 1/3 innings in a June 1 game against Atlanta and was placed on the 10-day Injured List with a "neck strain" the following day.

While a neck strain is the official injury designation, Nats GM Mike Rizzo confirmed to 106.7 The Fan in June that Strasburg is in fact suffering from the same injury he had in 2018, when he suffered a "cervical nerve impingement."

As Rizzo described last month, Strasburg's injury involves an irritation of the nerve that goes from his neck down to his shoulder and arm. Just as he did in 2018, Strasburg sought the opinion of Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles after hitting the IL in June 2021. He also sought the opinion of a specialist in Dallas afterward.

"I know they're going to look at some different options, see if we can find another specialist for him to go see," Martinez said Friday. "But as of right now, this continues to happen to him, so we need to figure something else out for him."

Rizzo confirmed to 106.7 The Fan earlier this week that Strasburg felt "good" after throwing a bullpen session, and a subsequent long toss session from 300 feet the next day, but heeded that they'd need to see how Strasburg felt the following day.

"It's unfortunate," Martinez told reporters. "I know he's trying really hard to get back on that mound and continue to come back, but like I said before, I want him back fully healthy, so we're going to weigh all options here. But as of right now, we kind of backed him down a little bit and then we'll see what happens in the next few days."