Scott Boras, the agent for Stephen Strasburg, refuted the claim made today that the Nationals have not spoken recently with the surgeon who performed Tommy John surgery on Strasburg.
Lewis Yocum told the Los Angeles Times that General Manager Mike Rizzo never asked him about the decision to shut down Strasburg this year. Boras said he kept records that show the team has been in communication with Yocum, either through team physician Wiemi Douoguih or Rizzo.
“I know from the discussion I’ve had with the Nationals that there has been repeated communication between the Nationals’ doctor and Dr. Yocum,” Boras said. “There was a conversation between Dr. Yocum and Rizzo sometime in August.”
One person close to Rizzo said Yocum and Rizzo spoke on Aug. 13 and called Yocum’s comments “very curious.”
Yocum also said, according to the Times, that Rizzo had not spoken with him since last year. Boras said he participated in a conference call during spring training regarding Strasburg that included Yocum and Rizzo.
“To my knowledge, there was a discussion with Dr. Yocum and other orthopedic surgeons involved,” Boras sid.
Boras said the Nationals sought advice from Yocum and other orthopedic surgeons. Boras has repeatedly said that Rizzo and the Nationals made the decision to shut down Strasburg without him. Boras said he only wanted to make sure the Nationals acted on medical advice.
“We’re all relying on doctors here,” Boras said. “How can we not rely on doctors?”
Yocum told the newspaper that he did not believe current medical research could provide a definitive conclusion about shutting down Strasburg. He added Rizzo had made the decision based on experience with Jordan Zimmermann, whom the Nationals shut down last year after 160 innings.
The Nationals shut down Strasburg for the season Saturday morning after 159 1/3 innings. They had planned since last fall to cut his year short at roughly 160 innings. After Strasburg allowed the Marlins five runs in three innings, the Nationals believed Strasburg had shown physical fatigue from pitching in his first full season and mental wear from constant media scrutiny.
The Nationals and Yocum have shared a close relationship. Yocum also performed Tommy John surgery on Zimmermann, first-round draft pick Lucas Giolito and other Nationals pitchers.