It was easy to dismiss Rob Dibble’s criticism of the Nats’ plan to have Stephen Strasburg pitch in the big leagues this year, mostly because the guy speaking was Rob Dibble. His contention that the Nats were just trying to put butts in seats also seemed laughable, because the long-term financial implications of rashly rushing a pitcher back for a few 2011 starts and risking a half-decade of returns wouldn’t be convincing to any savvy business owner.
But now there’s at least one more former pitcher who’s offering a somewhat similar caution to the Nats. This is Curt Schilling, talking on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight the day after Strasburg’s Hagerstown debut.
“It’s exciting,” Schilling said. “I know, I remember that feeling of your first rehab start. The most important day you come to realize is tomorrow, when he wakes up tomorrow how everything feels.
“The one thing I don’t do if I’m the Nationals is listen to anything he says about where he wants to be this year. I want him to want to be in the big leagues. He’s going to be great for the game, but there’s absolutely no reason for him to pitch in the big leagues this year. He’s set up right now to finish the year out. Go to rehab, go to Instruction League, get pitches, get innings, get that every fifth day routine back. Know he’s healthy coming into spring training, so nobody has any questions.”
If the Nats take the same approach they did with Jordan Zimmermann, and let Strasburg’s schedule and pitch limit dictate his appearances, I don’t know why it matters if he’s facing the instructional leaguers or the Astros. But out of fairness to Dibble, I figured I should put Schilling’s thoughts out there.
(Via SportsBusiness Daily)