Even before Friday night’s 5-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo reiterated the team’s intention to shelve precocious flamethrower Stephen Strasburg at some point in September.
In a mere 34 starts, Strasburg (9-4, 2.82 ERA), who has compiled a 15-7 record with a 2.68 ERA and 238 strikeouts since debuting with Washington (48-33) in June 2010, has visited the disabled list for shoulder tightness and undergone Tommy John Surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in August 2010.
“We know what’s right for us. And we have the guts to stick with it,” said Rizzo. “We’re an organization that prides itself on proper development of players. That’s what we explain to every parent about their son and every agent about a player.”
Strasburg, who the Nationals picked out of San Diego State University with the first overall selection in the 2009 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft, was called by Sports Illustrated the “most hyped and closely watched pitching prospect in the history of baseball.”
The former Aztec has shown he still possesses tremendous velocity on his fastball and his health has certainly appeared intact.
There is little question that a 23-year-old man can successfully heal thanks to the wonders of modern medicines and advanced surgical treatment of injuries.
Nevertheless, in lieu of the draconian injury Strasburg suffered as a 21-year-old, Rizzo’s precautionary blueprint is somewhat understandable.
Still, the belief that pampering a player is the easiest recipe to causing an injury remains valid.
Perhaps Mike Rizzo indeed does “know what’s right for” the Washington Nationals.
Regrettably, “proper development of players” is far from an exact science and Rizzo may unwittingly stunt Stephen Strasburg’s growth with unnecessary coddling this autumn.by