After being shelled last night by the Miami Marlins in a 9-7 loss at Nationals Park, Washington flamethrower Stephen Strasburg admitted he’s “not too happy” with the organization’s asinine decision to immediately shelve him for the season.
Strasburg (15-6, 3.16 ERA), who has compiled a 21-10 record with a 2.94 ERA and 313 strikeouts since debuting with Washington (86-53) in June 2010, was supposed to make one final start on September 12 versus the New York Mets.
“I thought I had another start,” said Strasburg, 24, who the Nationals picked out of San Diego State University with the first overall selection in the 2009 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. “It was pretty shocking and honestly, I’m not too happy about it.”
Nationals manager Davey Johnson told the former Aztec he was done.
“I just told Stephen that his year is over. He’s had a great year. I know what he’s going through,” said Johnson, 69, who earned American League Manager of the Year honors in 1997 with the Baltimore Orioles and captured a World Series title with the Mets in 1986. “The media hype on this thing has been unbelievable. I feel it’s as hard for him as it would be anybody to get mentally, totally committed in the ballgame. And he’s reached his innings limit. So we can get past this and talk about other things for a change.”
In a mere 45 starts, Strasburg has visited the disabled list for shoulder tightness and undergone Tommy John Surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in August 2010.
The youngster called by Sports Illustrated the “most hyped and closely watched pitching prospect in the history of baseball” has shown he still possesses tremendous velocity on his heater and his health has certainly appeared intact over 159 1/3 innings to date.
There is little question that a 24-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, general manager Mike Rizzo’s precautionary blueprint is somewhat understandable.
Unfortunately for Rizzo, there is not even a shred of credible evidence to support that his stance will prove beneficial to Strasburg.
In fact, the belief that pampering an athlete is the easiest recipe to cause an injury remains valid and Rizzo may unwittingly stunt Strasburg’s development with unnecessary coddling this autumn.
The Nationals currently own the best record in Major League Baseball and certainly have the talent to contend for a World Series title.
However, without the dominant Stephen Strasburg hurling fastballs this October, the Nationals have zero chance to advance deep into the playoffs.
“You don’t grow up dreaming of playing in the big leagues to get shut down when the games start to matter,” said Strasburg. “It’s gonna be a tough one to swallow, but like I said, all I can do is be the best teammate possible for these guys.”
While a young and unimpaired Stephen Strasburg watches a rare playoff run sitting in the dugout, “It’s gonna be a tough one to swallow” because this version of the Washington Nationals may never again compete for an appearance in the postseason.by