Having written about how the Washington Nationals management, players and pitcher Stephen Strasburg feel about the latter’s being shut down from pitching the rest of the season it is time for me to weigh in.
As a fan of the Nationals since their arrival in 2005 I feel as though the team is definitely doing the right thing by ending Strasburg’s season after 159 1/3 innings. I respect what baseball experts have said, but as a medical man side with the team. They are shutting Strasburg down, because it is the medical protocol for those who have had Tommy John surgery. This is all that matters.
The medics are looking out for the best interest of Strasburg. Fortunately, the Nationals are too. The organization could cave in to outside pressure and continue to pitch Strasburg. They have the best record in baseball and seem headed to the post season. With Strasburg they probably have a better chance of winning than without him.
But every organization should think of the well being of their athletes. For years they did not. This is why pitchers like Sandy Koufax, Ron Guidry, Don Gullett and Mark Fydrich had such short careers. If their organizations had looked out for them a little better maybe they would have pitched longer.
As a person trained in physical therapy I have seen many young athletes come in with injuries. All of them want to get back on the field or court as soon as possible. I was the same way as a young man. Every one that returned too soon re-injured themselves or suffered complications later in life. Youth is not a free ticket to quick recovery.
Why would Strasburg be any different? He is no Superman. Why should his protocol be any different than that of Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman who went through the same procedure and rehab as Strasburg in 2011? Zimmerman’s rehab seems to have been successful and he will pitch into the post season this year.
Of course the only reason anyone cares about what happens to Strasburg is because the Nationals are winning. If they were a .500 ball club as in 2011 there would be no critics. I know this, because there were none last season when Zimmerman was shut down.
In the past three seasons of watching the Nationals all I know is that almost every move they have made has paid dividends. General manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson have brought the team along faster than anyone could have hoped. Sure they will be criticized if the Nationals don’t win the World Series. However, let’s be honest who outside of D.C. expected the team to even be in the post season?
Before everyone begins saying, ‘See I told you so,’ if the Nationals don’t win it all without Strasburg they should first consider medical protocol and second think back to where they thought the Nationals would be come October.
If they had no opinion on Strasburg and didn’t think that Washington was a contender in March then they shouldn’t have 20/20 vision now.