by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Stephen Strasburg struck fear in the hearts of Nationals fans everywhere when he was pulled after just the second inning of his start against the Braves Friday night, with initial reports indicating some sort of arm injury.

However, initial reports aren’t always factual, and fortunately this was the case when team officials later clarified Strasburg had been yanked for a strained oblique muscle.

“I saw him wince every throw he made and Suzuki gave the sign like ‘You know, it’s not real good,'” Davey Johnson said following the game.

This wasn’t the first time Stras has dealt with this pain though, according to Johnson, who said he’d been fighting through symptoms his last couple starts. But the nagging tension in his back wouldn’t loosen up, as it had in his previous outings.

“The last few starts I’d feel it kind of warming up and I’d go out there and I wouldn’t feel anything,” Strasburg said. “Where tonight it was more kind of like the reverse. It felt really good in the bullpen, and then I kind of threw a couple pitches in there and started to kind of feel it more and more.”

Making his 12th start of the season, Strasburg was able to muscle through the first six outs, retiring Brian McCann on a groundout and ringing up Dan Uglla for a K before Davey pulled the plug.

The 24-year-old ace was visibly distraught when approached by pitching coach Steve McCatty and trainer Lee Kuntz, realizing he wasn’t going to be given the chance to head back to the mound for the third inning.

“I’m kind of frustrated because obviously you want to come out here and give at least seven, eight innings a start,” Strasburg said.

Craig Stammen was brought in for relief, and pitched a superb four innings, giving up zero hits through 12 hitters faced, with four strikeouts. That would set up Tyler Clippard, and eventually a Rafael Soriano save to give the Nats a 3-2 victory over the Braves.

Strasburg was flown back to D.C. to consult with team physician, Dr. Wiemi Douoguih.

You gave everyone a good scare, Stephen. Heal up and hurry back.

Update: While there’s still no word on whether Strasburg will be sent to the DL, right-handed reliever and Triple-A Syracuse product Erik Davis tweeted some exciting news late-late Friday night. He has a 3.00 ERA, with 27 strikeouts through 24 innings pitched this season.

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