Monday, August 23, 2010

The Sky Is Falling: Stephen Strasburg

It looks like freshman phenom/future Hall of Famer, Stephen Strasburg, will be headed to the disabled list for the second time this season. Yet, that collective exhale of breath you felt earlier did come from Washington D.C. Strasburg left Saturday's game in the 5th inning after grimacing from an apparent arm injury. Early half-glass-emptiers suspected Strasburg may have torn a tendon which would result in surgery and a year layoff. From my quick math, that would be the equivalent to the strike-shortened 1994 season for the Montreal Expos. Almost certain financial doom, years in last place and eventual relocation to some crime laden southern city, let's say Virginia Beach.

But fortunately for the "fans" who sell out Nationals Park only when Strasburg pitches, the kid's tendon didn't fall out of his arm...
Strasburg strained a tendon in his right forearm over the weekend, and Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said Monday the team would "proceed with caution" with the prized pitcher.

If by "proceed with caution" you mean shut him down for the year, I completely agree with this decision. Sure the Expos Nats will lose some pretty good revenue from the one or two more home starts he could make this season but Strasburg has already thrown more innings than he did last year. Unless Dusty Baker is consulting on pitcher usage, it's time to shut the kid down and build toward next season.

The Sky is Falling
A second DL stint for the 22-year-old can't be exciting news. I'm no scout but I haven't heard or seen anything about a hitch in his mechanics that suggests a proneness to injuries. Hopefully it's just some randomness even though he said he pitched through a similar injury in college. As a hopeful new Nationals fan, I'm hoping he shrugs this off and cruises past Cy Young's win record and Nolan Ryan's strikeout record in the next, um, 30 or so years of world dominance. As a glass-half-empty guy (what?, I'm thirsty), I'm afraid of a Ben McDonald/Mark Prior fall from relevance.

Let's all hope for the best because he's good for baseball. 92 strikeouts in 68 innings as a rookie is exciting stuff. I should know, I struck out 68 hitters over 3 months in the summer of 1991. I threw a devastating Wiffle Ball slurve.

[awesome drawing from Francis Hogan via Fedral Baseball]

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