About a year ago, then-MASN analyst Rob Dibble sort-of criticized Stephen Strasburg’s toughness on his Sirius/XM show, saying the young pitcher needed to “suck it up” and pitch. Of course, within a few days Strasburg had been diagnosed with a torn ligament, and Dibble’s remarks ultimately led to his departure from the MASN booth, a fact he later blamed on an e-mail from Strasburg’s father.
One year later, Strasburg is nearing a return to the professional mound, and Dibble is now concerned that the Nats are actually rushing him back in an effort to sell tickets. If your head is spinning, well, you’re not the only one.
“What’s the relevance of having a guy that could possibly get you to the postseason coming back for five starts this year?” Dibble asked on MLB Network Radio’s “First Pitch.” (Audio here.)
“Well, they want to see if he’s healthy,” Dibble said, proposing the counter-argument.
“Well, obviously you know he’s healthy if he’s already going on, or he’s about to go on, rehabilitation stuff,” he countered. “I mean, they rushed Jordan Zimmermann back. And just because these guys are younger, it doesn’t change the fact that for the most part, the majority of Tommy John guys, it takes them 18 months to 24 months to be 100 percent. Now, you may feel great, you’ve got a new tendon in there, new ligament, all that kind of stuff. You’ve gotten the injury fixed.
“But there’s absolutely no reason, other than to sell tickets and to put butts in the seats, to bring Stephen Strasburg back to make a few starts at the end of the season. He’s too valuable, he’s too talented to even think about stuff like that.
“But in their case, having worked with those people, the only thing I can say is that there’s some people there that think that they invented the game of baseball. Which they did not. And that they can do things differently than 29 other teams in the game. That’s the problem that I had when I was working there, and now, even working on this channel for the last seven years.
“It’s pretty simple stuff. You want guys to play 15, 20 years. You don’t need to rush a guy back just to get a couple starts in so you can sell out the stadium and stuff like that. They’ve been talking about 2012, and what kind of team we’re gonna have and things like that. So you know what, if that’s the case, and you don’t want to put a Bryce Harper in the Major Leagues until you think he’s ready, there’s REALLY no point in rushing this kid back just to get a couple starts out of him for this year. ”
All I can say is someone clearly needs to suck it up in this situation. Not quite sure who.