Stephen Strasburg thinking along with the Nationals, even if he can’t pitch

September 16, 2012

Stephen Strasburg has been shut down for one week now, watching games from the bench, an observer of the rotation he headed all season long. But the Nationals are still treating him, in some ways, as an active member of the rotation.

Strasburg is still playing catch, keeping to a rehab and strengthening program the Nationals outlined. He is also still learning. Saturday afternoon, Strasburg shared a long conversation with pitching coach Steve McCatty. They chatted a little about his season, and about scenarios that came up in recent games and how Strasburg would handle them.

“Just because he’s not throwing right now doesn’t mean we don’t talk,” McCatty said. “We still talk. We talk about stuff and situations. He’s doing fine.

“When we talk about things, it’s about something we see, through the year, just stuff. But it’s not – I would always do that with him no matter what. Now, if something comes up, I will talk to him about that. If I see him sitting there [in the dugout], we talk about a lot different things.”

Several veteran teammates have said they feel badly for Strasburg. Many have approached to tell him not to worry about how his teammates view him. They want to tell him they know he had nothing to do with the decision to end his season, and that he did not let them down.

Strasburg seethed at the decision to shut him down last week, saying “I don’t know if I’m ever going to accept it.” But McCatty said Strasburg has kept his spirits up.

“I don’t think he’s ready for a straitjacket, if that’s what you’re getting at,” McCatty said. “… Stephen is doing fine. He’s handling it.”

Adam Kilgore covers the Nationals for The Washington Post.
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Adam Kilgore · September 16, 2012