Report: Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, 2019 World Series MVP, to retire due to rare condition

Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws a pitch during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, in (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is reportedly calling it a career. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who won the World Series MVP in 2019, is planning to retire, according to a report from Jesse Dougherty and Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.

The former top prospect out of San Diego State was the first overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. He dealt with health setbacks almost immediately. After striking out 14 in his MLB debut, Strasburg's rookie season in 2010 was derailed by an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

He signed a seven-year, $245 million contract in December 2019, which was a record-high deal for a pitcher at the time. Since then, he has pitched just 31 1/3 innings. He most recently pitched on June 9, 2022, his only appearance of last season.

During the summer of 2020, Strasburg had season-ending carpal tunnel surgery to address tingling and numbness in his hand. He was later diagnosed with a rare condition, which might have been causing those symptoms.

Strasburg underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in 2021. The condition manifests when pressures in the space between the collarbone (clavicle) and the first rib increase to the point of impinging vessels or nerves. Strasburg was reportedly unable to get back to form after the procedure, which included the removal of a rib and two neck muscles.

According to the report, Strasburg made multiple efforts to return to the bullpen. He reportedly trained near his home in northern Virginia until pain returned ahead of spring training this year, which he missed. He has reportedly been shut down from physical activity since the end of April.

The 35-year-old notched three All-Star nods throughout his career, recording a 113-62 record. In 247 regular-season starts with Washington, he logged a 3.24 ERA and 1,723 strikeouts. His 2019 was a glorious campaign, as he made two starts in the World Series against the Houston Astros and won both of them, allowing just four runs and striking out 14. He was named World Series MVP after the Nationals clinched the title.

A news conference is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 9 at Nationals Park, before the Nationals play the Los Angeles Dodgers that day, according to the report.