Sporting a major league best 71-43 record, one of the top young outfield prospects, and one of the top pitchers in the league, the Washington Nationals have a lot going for them. What the Nationals also have though is one tough decision to make.
What do they do with pitcher Stephen Strasburg as he comes back from last seasons Tommy John surgery?
It has been the hot topic around the league for much of the season and the plan is that the team, which has placed an inning limit on Strasburg, will shut him down for roughly the last month of the season. It looks like they won’t go with 160 innings like the team did last year with Jordan Zimmerman so the team will most likely stick with the 180 inning mark like they have said. Currently at 133.1 innings with 166 strikeouts, fans are starting to wonder if the Nationals are doing the right thing with the 24-year-old ace.
In a recent interview with The Hall of Very Good, former major league pitcher Tommy John was quoted as saying that the only way he was able to get back to full strength following his Tommy John surgery years ago was to throw, everyday.
“After I had (Tommy John surgery), the only way we knew to get my arm stronger was to throw,” John said on the site. “So I threw everyday. And the more I threw… the better my arm felt.”
John went on to say that following his surgery, he never missed another start for his career and said it was because of his continuous throwing.
“If I was Strasburg, I’d be lobbying to pitch,” John said. “What you play for all season is to pitch in the postseason.”
No, John is not a doctor and has not monitored Strasburg and his progress since the surgery, but he has been in Strasburg’s shoes. (Which is more than the team doctors can say.)
So, should the team shut him down? Sort of.
While it may be a mistake, it’s time that the team simply allows him to skip a start once in a while in order to pitch out the rest of the season and likely when the Nationals make the MLB Playoffs.