Toward the end of Stephen Strasburg’s one inning of All-Star work Tuesday night, the Fox broadcast team began discussing his likely September shut-down.
“There’s been so much written about a supposed ceiling for innings for Strasburg this season,” Joe Buck began. “We talked to him about it [Monday], and he said if there is, I haven’t been told about that. He’s not discussed that with management at all. But the number you hear a lot, 160, 165 innings. And then because of his youth and his Tommy John surgery, the rumor is they’ll shut him down.”
Moments later, Fox information guy Ken Rosenthal chimed in from field level, pointing out that this wasn’t exactly a rumor, and that the Nats have said they’ll stick by their conservative plan, oh, 5,724 times.
“Well, if that’s the case, and Strasburg hasn’t been told, that’s odd to me,” Buck said.
“It is,” Tim McCarver agreed. “It is. And it would be odd also if by shutting him down, that would cost them their first time in the postseason since the mid-’30s.”
The inning then ended, as did the discussion. And after I poked mild fun at Buck and McCarver in print this week, Reader John sent me a reasonable note.
“Like you, I think it is ludicrous that they treated it as if it were a wacky rumor and appeared not to have bothered to read the countless stories in The Post about it,” he wrote. But then he continued with real questions.
“Have the Nationals not discussed the shutdown with the shutdownee? Did Strasburg say what he is alleged to have said? If so, why? As a fan of the Nats and of Strasburg, I want to know....Please go beyond trashing Buck-McCarver and tell us ignorant masses whether Strasburg indeed said what he was quoted as saying.”
So for John, I bring you Strasburg’s comments this week to Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan.
“The innings limit has been a conversation since Spring Training,” Kushner began. “Is it coming? Are you prepared, [that] you’re going to get shut down before the end of the season?”
“I mean, it’s tough,” Strasburg replied. “Everything I hear, they say it’s going to happen. But I can’t really worry about that, to be honest. It’s something that they haven’t discussed with me, so all I can do is just keep pitching and keep helping this team win as many games as we can. And when they think that it’s time for us to shut it down, then it’s going to be their call. I know they’re only doing it because obviously a lot of medical studies have shown that it’s the right thing to do.”
Kushner then asked Strasburg again if he really hadn’t discussed this issue with Davey Johnson or Mike Rizzo.
“Yeah, it’s tough,” Strasburg said. “Because obviously you hear about it in the media and everything. But they don’t really want me worrying about it in the clubhouse. So I’m pretty good at fielding all the questions about it, but when it comes to game-time, they just want me to go out there and pitch and throw as many innings as I can.”
Strasburg was also asked about his innings limit and when he might be shut down this week on ESPN 980’s The Sports Fix.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Strasburg told Kevin Sheehan. “Obviously there’s a lot of speculation, but I think it’s been great that they’ve been letting me just go out there and pitch and throw as many innings as I can. And obviously they’re gonna make the decision when it comes to that, but right now I’m not really worried about it. A lot can happen. That’s what I keep telling myself.”