Stephen Strasburg will not be available to pitch should the Washington Nationals advance to the National League (NL) Championship Series, manager Dusty Baker said.
The 28-year-old right-hander, who has not pitched in more than a month, felt "a little discomfort" in his throwing elbow Monday during a bullpen session.
The setback almost certainly means Strasburg will not recover in time for the series, which begins Saturday and may run as long as October 23.
"It would be a miracle if he was" available, Baker told reporters Thursday ahead of Washington's NL Division Series game five with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Strasburg has been on the disabled list since September 7 with a partially torn pronator tendon in his right elbow.
That was preceded by a 15-day DL stint the team attributed to "right elbow soreness".
In sum, Strasburg has thrown a total of three innings since the issue first cropped up during an August 17 start.
Baker had previously expressed he expected Strasburg to return if the team went beyond the NLDS.
"I'm not worried," Baker said following Monday's abbreviated bullpen session.