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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shaikin: Stephen Strasburg’s surgeon on Nationals shutdown: ‘I wasn’t asked’

The doctor who performed elbow surgery on Stephen Strasburg said he did not tell the Washington Nationals to shut down their ace pitcher.

“I wasn’t asked,” Dr. Lewis Yocum told the Los Angeles Times.

Yocum said he had not talked with Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo since last year and had not talked with Strasburg since spring training….

Yocum said that, had he been asked, he would not have been able to provide conclusive information about whether Strasburg’s long-term health would be best served by shutting him down.

“There’s no statistic as far as studies,” Yocum said.

Yocum noted that Rizzo set his own standard with Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann….

Yocum said that process — and not any medical directive — essentially determined how Rizzo would proceed with Strasburg.

“It’s based on Mike’s experience,” Yocum said. “Mike is extremely confident. His track record speaks for itself. Zimmermann did extremely well.”

Yocum said the results with Zimmermann and Strasburg might well influence how other teams handle the progress of young pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery, in which a damaged ligament in the forearm is replaced.

“If there was a guarantee, everybody would be doing it right now,” Yocum said. “You just don’t know. This may be the beginning of a trend.”

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: September 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM | 208 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: health, medical, nationals

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   201. GuyM Posted: September 15, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4236476)
I guess since I don't know that anyone's advocated saving 40 innings for the postseason, that is theoretically possible. But, generally speaking, I loathe the "same people" ########, one of the lamest tricks in the BTF bag.

My sense from the thread was that many (most?) of those who support this idea also think that a 160 inning limit is a mistake in the first place. So it seems entirly fair to ascribe this position to them. But if there are folks who agree with the 160 inning limit but think Strasburg should have been limited to just 130-140 during the regular season, then your point is well taken. I should have said "some of those supporting this position..." [Although perhaps you would agree that it is much easier to advocate this position now -- with an 8-game lead -- than it would have been in May. Anyone who can show they advocated this plan back then gets 4 gold stars.]
   202. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 15, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4236479)
People smart enough to become GMs think differently than other people. They do inexplicable stuff sometimes. They probably have some reason that makes sense to them that we don't know about. I'm guessing that's the case here.

I wouldn't assume the average GM is any smarter than the average BTF poster. This is a pretty erudite group.

They have more access to information and knowledge of course, but pure intelligence? I actually don't think GMs as a group would rate that highly. They're not selected for it.
   203. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 15, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4236483)
My sense from the thread was that many (most?) of those who support this idea also think that a 160 inning limit is a mistake in the first place. So it seems entirly fair to ascribe this position to them. But if there are folks who agree with the 160 inning limit but think Strasburg should have been limited to just 130-140 during the regular season, then your point is well taken. I should have said "some of those supporting this position..." [Although perhaps you would agree that it is much easier to advocate this position now -- with an 8-game lead -- than it would have been in May. Anyone who can show they advocated this plan back then gets 4 gold stars.]

What I'd advocate is 160 timed to end with the regular season (so no shutdown) and then you pitch him more if you make the playoffs. That's assuming he's healthy after the 160, of course.
   204. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 15, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4236525)
This is a pretty erudite group.


Why thank you, kind sir.

What I'd advocate is 160 timed to end with the regular season (so no shutdown) and then you pitch him more if you make the playoffs.


Yet another mildly interesting aspect of this whole affair is that while Rizzo often comes across as a pretty arrogant guy, he clearly is not arrogant enough to have assumed that his team was going to be in playoff position quite this soon. Also, I wondered this in one of the previous Strasburg threads and I'll wonder it again -- was wanting Strasburg to have a longer off-season heading into 2013 part of the thinking that went into the plan? And yeah, I know... there's no compelling evidence for advocating that either.
   205. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 15, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4236916)
These discussions would be far less frustrating without the comments like 'why not interrupt his season?', 'why not delay his season?', 'why not keep him as once-a-week pitcher?' or the Boras conspiracies or ray's post-modernist garbage of we-can't-know-anything-so-why-bother-trying-just-give-me-instant-gratification.

So if we all just agreed that Rizzo is, like, super awesome, these threads would be a lot more productive. While Andy might agree with that sentiment, I'm not sure they'd make for very lively discussion.

Not to mention that the same people now supporting this plan would be excoriating Rizzo for having cost the Nats a post-season birth. "You have to maximize your chance of reaching the post-season before you arrogantly start planning your post-season rotation."
I guess since I don't know that anyone's advocated saving 40 innings for the postseason, that is theoretically possible. But, generally speaking, I loathe the "same people" ########, one of the lamest tricks in the BTF bag. "If this alternate universe that has no chance of ever happening happens, then you guys would be arguing something completely different. ####### hypocrites."




Seriously. The quality of argument has got to be better than this.
   206. PepTech Posted: September 17, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4237889)
This is a pretty erudite group


You said, "erudite". Heh-heh. Heh.
   207. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: September 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4237924)
Interesting that during the game last night, Fredi Gonzalez indicated Medlen had that 160 innings limit too, and the club decided to use them later in the year. That approach has a team that seemed to have been much more highly regarded at the start of the year 5 1/2 games behind a team that was reckoned about even with the Marlins, behind the Phillies and Braves. You can argue, certainly for this year, that Medlen's starts have been better than Strasburg's, so why did they wait so long to use him as a starter, and leave themselves in a position to have to play the wildcard game instead of being closer to winning the division?
   208. The District Attorney Posted: September 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4237933)
why did they wait so long to use him as a starter, and leave themselves in a position to have to play the wildcard game instead of being closer to winning the division?
Because this wasn't the plan all along, like Fredi is making it sound like. They were reluctant to use Medlen as a SP at all, and only did so once they were out of other options.

(I imagine it will be the plan for many teams going forward, however. Who knows, but I can't imagine that shutting down one of your top starters in mid-September is going to become a routine thing. Starting them a little later in the season makes worlds more sense.)
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