A: That’s why you use case studies. These people have done no research. Who are they? I mean, you know, I listen to John Kruk or these people and I’m like, ‘Who the [expletive] are you guys? You aren’t medically trained.’ I have a Ph.D. in Pharmacology. I have studied medicine for eight years. I know how much time and effort you have to put in the examination room. These people have no medical training whatsoever, and people listen to them. ‘Oh, the game requires you to pitch.’ You aren’t a doctor! The doctor gives you the authority. If the doctor told me he could go 220 innings, I’d say great, but I’m not a medical doc.
Q: So, this was the plan from the beginning after the surgery, correct?
A: How about this — how about everyone was given notice by [Mike] Rizzo and everyone else that this was going to be what the format was. That Stephen is going to, hopefully, pitch the Nationals into position. [Strasburg’s situation coming off surgery influenced how] Rizzo and I put this team together. I got eight or nine guys on the team. I got another whole group in the minor leagues.
The answer [for Strasburg’s program to work out] was, and I went to the owner and said ‘You better start Edwin Jackson, you better do this because you are going to need these innings because we have this plan for Stephen Strasburg.’ And you know what? Ted [Lerner] did it. I had to go to his house to get the money to have to do it and say look this is the plan, but you know what, he did it.
Q: That turned out to be a great move. Pardon my ignorance, but who did you represent on the Braves?
A: Greg Maddux and Steve Avery.
Q: So the whole Avery experiment in Atlanta, what was [Former Braves pitching coach and critic of decision to shut Strasburg down] Leo Mazzone thinking?
A: You know, he forgets the people. ‘I, I, I, I’m Leo. I did this great thing.’ And you know, I’m not sure what he did. All I know is, there was no one sitting here raising the flag on this. I’ve talked to [then Braves’ GM and now president John] Schuerholz, and everybody else, and I say “look, we’ve got too many innings and I didn’t have the studies in place that I have now. ”
You can go back in Rick Ankiel’s career, and I went in and said we have got to watch what this guy does in the big leagues at such a young age. And the studies are very revealing.
Q: So, clearly, you felt comfortable that Mike Rizzo understood your thinking on this long before this happened?
A: So, good thing about Rizzo when I had Strasburg — and you know he was a 20-year-old draftee, a year early. I said, “Look, you want to draft these players? Great, but you know what? I’m not on board. We won’t sign and I’ll send them back to college. I want to make sure we have an organization that will put the health of these players first.” I saw this coming. I saw all this coming. He was too talented, and his body wasn’t yet mature. He was so young.