All-Star ace Stephen Strasburg is done for the year after the Nationals made a decision to end his season following a shaky start, costing him a chance to possibly pitch in the playoffs.
Manager Davey Johnson made the statement with the Washington Nationals holding the best record in the majors. He claimed the media attention surrounding the innings limit for the 24-year-old right-hander was having an effect on the pitcher.
”I just told Stephen that his year is over. He’s had a great year. I know what he’s growing through,” Johnson expounded. ”The media hype on this thing has been unbelievable. I feel it’s as hard for him as it might be anybody to get mentally, completely committed in the ballgame. And he’s reached his innings limit. So we will get past this and talk about other stuff for a change.”
Johnson said Strasburg was ”emotional” about the decision to end his season straight away. A day earlier, the overall No. 1 pick from the 2009 draft matched a career low by lasting only 3 innings against Miami.
”He’s one heck of a pitcher and he’s a heck of a competitor,” Johnson said. ”I know he has been struggling with it for weeks. I know he doesn’t sleep good thinking about it.” Baseball betting lines
Strasburg went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA in his 1st full season following elbow-ligament replacement surgery on Sept. 3, 2010. He struck out 197 in 159 1-3 innings.
The Nationals had claimed Wednesday’s begin at the N.Y Mets likely would be his last appearance of the season. John Lannan will make that start and remain in the starting rotation.
Johnson declared the decision was his, and pitching Coach Steve McCatty and GM Mike Rizzo were in agreement.
”My job is to do what’s best for the player. And this is what’s best,” Johnson said. ”If you’re not there 100 percent mentally – he’s a gifted athlete, his velocity can still be there – but I do not see the crispness. I do not see the ball jumping out of his hand. I’m a firm believer that this game’s 90 to 95 % mental and he’s only human. I don’t know how any person can be totally mentally focusing on the job at hand with the media hype to this thing and I think we’d be risking more by sending him out.”
”This is a plan we put in place Feb 1st, we’ve been true to the plan and we haven’t wavered from it one bit,” Rizzo expounded. ”This is just the culmination of that plan. I have a belief in my heart that it’s the right thing to do for the player and the right thing to do for the player is the right thing to do for the franchise.”
The Nationals hadn’t spelled out precisely how many innings would pitch this season, although there had been a lot of speculation that 160 was round the limit.
”He’s had a terrific season for us,” Rizzo declared. ”You couldn’t ask for anything else coming off his 1st season off Tommy John surgery. He is a huge part of where we’re at right now.”