Stephen Strasburg addresses media on his Tommy John surgery
Strasburg sat next to General Manager Mike Rizzo, clean-shaven wearing a green polo. He was remarkably composed and thoughtful, reflecting on his emotions and his goals. Here is a full transcription of his comments:
On his reaction:
"It was kind of a shock to me, because I didn't really feel anything. It is what it is. In a way, it's good that it happened now, instead of when we're going to the postseason or getting ready for a World Series. This is a new challenge. I want to be the best at everything. Right now, I'm going to be the best at rehabbing and getting back out here."
On advice Jordan Zimmermann gave him:
"He was telling me that, especially early on, you're going to be questioning yourself. It's going to feel really, really good on some days and the next day it will be tight. He said you've just got to remind yourself that it is 100 percent healthy, just to push through it, just to stick with the program and not try and do too much, but at the same time, get what you need to get done."
On inspiration from other pitchers:
Absolutely. You look at all the guys in the big leagues who are Cy Young contenders, Hall of Famers who have had this surgery, and it's become such a specialty these days. I know I'm going to the best [Dr. Lewis Yocum] and I know deep down inside I'm going to work just as hard if not harder than any of these guys who had to go through it before. I'll be back here soon."
On what he felt when he threw his final pitch:
It felt more like a flexor strain than anything. It felt like my forearm cramped up. That was about it. After that, as far as the stress test and everything, I didn't feel any pain. That was the thing that kind of threw it off. I think that was from being strong and flexible to begin with. Who knows when it happened? Bottom line, it is what it is. You just got to move forward.
On the kind challenge and his mind set:
You're right. It's a new challenge. It's going to be a big learning experience. I feel like I'm going to be able to grow a lot as an individual and as a baseball player. Looking at the bright side, it's going to get me six months to really not worry about throwing and really get strong in my lower half, my core, my shoulder, get everything strong so when it is time for me step on the rubber, it's going to be a totally new ballgame for me and I'll be ready to tackle a full season.
On similarity between this and what he felt in college:
That's the weird thing. What happened the other night is something that I felt before. Nothing was torn then. Personally, I don't know what the doctors think, but I think it might have been more something that happened over time and it never really popped up until we decided to go on the MRI machine for the flexor muscle. It happens. It happens to a lot of pitchers out there. It's a pretty common thing. Just got to roll with it and get better.
On if he finds himself looking for an explanation:
If I keep looking for an explanation, it's just going to eat at me. I got to let it go. I've just got to move on. That's what I'm doing. Everything happens for a reason. This is obviously a test for me. I've never had any shoulder or elbow surgery in my entire life. It's going to be a new experience. I'm just going to embrace it. I'm going to find the good in everything.
On any worries about his changeup, which he also felt at SDSU:
You can dig into that all you want. You're looking at two changeups of the hundreds of thousands of changeups that I've thrown, whether it's out in the outfielder, in a bullpen, during a game. I mean, it could have been any pitch.
On the experience of his season:
Definitely a whirlwind. It kind of sucks to have it end like this. I've got a lot of great experience when I was up here. The weird thing about it, that last game, that was when everything started to click. That was when I had that feeling. That was a packed house with some rowdy fans, and I didn't feel like they were there. I was just so locked in, and everything was working. Sure enough, something happened. But that's something to build on. Tomorrow, I'm just going to write down a piece of paper everything that I'm thinking right now and look at it a year from now.
On the time it took to get from initial reaction to embracing challenge:
It didn't take a matter of minutes. It took, definitely, a few hours. I've got great support all around me. They reminded me of everything I should be thankful for. They put everything in perspective for me. The big thing, the bottom line, this is a game. I'm very blessed to play this game for a living. This is a minor setback, but in the grand scheme of things it's just a blip on the radar screen.
Was the initial reaction confusion, anger?
Little bit of both.
On if he knew something was wrong:
That's the thing. When got the MRI results, I came to the field thinking they were going to let me play catch. I didn't really think that there was anything wrong. It just happened. I can't really explain it. I'm not going to try to explain it anymore.
Strasburg will leave tomorrow for Los Angeles and Yocum's office. In his mind, it's not a matter of a second opinion.
On that piece of paper:
So I don't forget all the things I'm thinking about right now. You're mind might get a little jumbled through this experience. I don't know what to expect. I've just got to remember everything I want to focus so next time I go out there and pitch, I can just keep going like I was this year.
On the No. 1 thing on the list:
"I'll keep that to myself. I might show you guys that in a year from now."
On if he wants to pitch at the very end of 2011:
"We're just going to have to wait and see. I'm just going to work as hard as possibly can. If I get back a year from now, that would be great. If I get back a little bit after that, it is what is. We're going to do what's right. We're not going to try to come back early to where there's problems and things are going to happen again. I'm going to come back and be fully healthy and be ready to go."
August 27, 2010; 4:11 PM ET
Categories: Stephen Strasburg
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