The Nationals’ comments raised a question in the mind of one man who knows more about reconstructed elbows than anyone. Dr. Frank Jobe did the first such operation on a baseball player, Tommy John in 1974, and hundreds more after that. Commenting on the Nationals’ announced plan to shut down Strasburg after his Sept. 12 start, the 87-year-old Jobe, now retired, said, “They may just be saying that if he has symptoms. If he has no symptoms, they may say ‘let’s try a couple more.’ They can change their minds if they want to.” ···
A reader offered a different plan the Nationals could have used.
“I went through the Nats schedule,” he wrote, “and worked out that they could have made Stras a Saturday-night-special pitcher (once a week), and not affect the rest of their rotation (no one pitches on short-rest).” Using any other day, he added, would not work.
That schedule would have given Strasburg 26 starts for a total of approximately 156 innings, leaving enough innings for the post-season.
However, the member of the organization who told of the Rizzo report on post-surgical pitchers said the Nationals had problems with the various ideas that have been proposed. “They don’t want to mess with him,” the person said.
“He feels great, but they want him to feel great next year. If he’s not pitching, he can’t get hurt and they don’t want him to get hurt. They want him to be healthy next year.”
But looking at the issue from another angle, he added, “The World Series doesn’t come around every year.”