Nationals decide to shut Strasburg down early
Washington, DC, United States (4E Sports) – The Washington Nationals have decided to shut down right-hander Stephen Strasburg for the rest of the season after Friday’s poor start.
Manager Davey Johnson made the announcement Saturday morning. He felt Strasburg was more beaten down mentally than physically and partially blamed the media, for the team’s decision.
“He’s had a great year,” Johnson said. “And I know what he’s going through the last couple weeks. This media hype on this thing has been unbearable.”
The Nationals have had a plan all along to make sure Strasburg did not throw too many innings and they had originally planned to make next week’s start in New York against the Mets his last of the campaign.
Washington decided to end Strasburg’s season sooner after he allowed five runs in three innings of the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Miami Marlins in 10 innings. Strasburg did not factor in the decision.
“Davey saw what I saw yesterday,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We are hand and glove in this situation, as we are in all situations. We discuss everything and we are in total agreement (to shut down Strasburg).”
Johnson said Strasburg’s recent struggles have been more mental than physical. The pitcher told the manager last week that he was having difficulty sleeping because of the impending shutdown.
“If you are not there 100 percent mentally … he is a gifted athlete and velocity can still be there,” Johnson said. “But I don’t see the crispness, I don’t see the ball jumping out of his hand. I’m a firm believer that this game is 99 percent mental.
“He is only human. I don’t how anybody can be … mentally concentrating on the job at hand with the media hype to this thing. I think we would be risking more sending him back out.”
Strasburg finished the season at 159 1/3 innings over 28 starts. He went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA with 197 strikeouts. The 24-year-old missed most of last season after having Tommy John surgery.
“We have a history on these type of rehabilitations, surgeries and how they get back to play a year after the Tommy John surgery,” Rizzo said. “We followed the protocol. We had parameters set in mind. After yesterday’s start, we just figured that mentally and physically Stephen looked like he was fatigued.
“We decided, what’s the difference of 159 1/3 innings or 163, 4 or 5 1/2 innings? We said, ‘Let’s pull the plug today and we move on with the season and try to finish the season off positively.’”
John Lannan will take Strasburg’s spot in the rotation. He will start Wednesday in New York.