On August 21, 2010 the Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg tore his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his pitching arm and needed Tommy John surgery to repair it. That meant that Strasburg — the only real hope DC sports fans had seen in two decades — was going to miss the 2011 season and possibly more.
Strasburg returned in 2012 to have a near Cy Young year and help put the Nationals in playoff position. He had been on a pitch count the entire year and was nearing it towards the end of the regular season. Before the 2012 season ended, the Nationals made a bold move and pulled their ace for the playoffs, thinking long term instead of short term.
I was vehemently against the pulling of Strasburg before the 2012 Washington Nationals went to the playoffs and I still am. They could have handled the situation a lot different in the beginning of the season so that he wouldn’t have come close to hitting that pitch count, he could have take a few more starts off during the season to make sure he didn’t hit the pitch count. The worst thing about all of it was Strasburg was 100%. We aren’t talking about Rg3 riving in pain with every step and the coach wanting to play him here, we are talking about Strasburg showing no signs of injury….AT ALL!
So what transpires? The Nats play well in the 2012 MLB Playoffs but not well enough to make a World Series run, a crying shame in my opinion on what could have been if the organization had handled the Strasburg situation differently earlier in the season.
Now fast forward to the 2013 MLB season. The Nationals still seem to be babying Stephen Strasburg and as a fan this is extremely frustrating. Strasburg is nearly 3 years removed from Tommy John surgery. It is time to take the training wheels off. Strasburg has joked around to the media about this, that they need to “loosen the leash”. In reality though, I don’t think Strasburg is really kidding.
All Strasburg wants to do is pitch. I am sure he has aspirations of being the best MLB pitcher the league has ever seen and I think he can do so, but only if the Nationals quit holding him back.