Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Stunned at first, Stephen Strasburg is taking positive outlook on Tommy John surgery

Stephen Strasburg was stunned late Thursday night when he learned, in a room inside Nationals Park with Nationals official and his agent Scott Boras, that he would require Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

"It was surprising," Boras said this afternoon in a telephone conversation. "Stephen felt good. He felt like he could continue to throw after it happened That's not unusual among elite athletes who have strength and flexibility beyond the norm.

"Obviously, it's really disappointing as far as what his current plan was. We sat down, had to map out a new focus for the next 12 months. We'll consult with some doctors and develop a plan to get this resolved. We've got high probability for a successful return."

The Nationals believe Strasburg's injury happened on one pitch: the 1-1 changeup he threw to Domonic Brown in the fifth Saturday night at Citizen's Bank Ballpark. Boras said the Nationals followed the development he and plan the Nationals organized together and had no problem in how they handled the phenom.

"The plan that Mike Rizzo and Stephen and I sat down and devised was exactly what the Nationals did," Boras said. "There's no issue as to anything about the plan. This is just an unfortunate even that occurs with pitchers. It happened with one pitch. There's no notice to any of this. As far as Stephen's treatment and the conservatism applied by all of us, it was done in the greatest of caution."

Boras recalled the popular notion among some fans and observers that before Strasburg's call-up to the majors, the Nationals, if anything, were not bringing Strasburg to the majors fast enough.


While the initial news shocked Strasburg, he quickly began considered how he could return to full strength on schedule, Boras said.

"By the end of the conversation and dealing with the emotions of it, he was already developing a very strategic plan for his work, everything from seeing doctors to his recovery," Boras said. It was "very structured. That's how Stephen works. He's really about getting on to the task at hand. He's a very focused, disciplined young man. I'm very encouraged about how he handled this and what his thought process was about receiving very difficult news."

Strasburg began moving on with a positive outlook. From having many clients who have experienced Tommy John and come back, Boras knows first hand the high success rate of pitchers who undergo the operation. Some of them, especially young pitchers such as Cy Young candidate Josh Johnson, return from the rehab better than before. Though he can't throw, Strasburg will use his year away from the mound to try to improve as a pitcher.

"When you have young pitchers, certainly the focus is this does give him time to give him more conditioning," Boras said. "These players are still growing. Physically, they usually stop growing when they're about 25, 27. This time frame gives us the opportunity to build with a greater a foundation. Obviously, he can't pitch. There are a lot of other things he can focus on that will help with increasing his durability as an athlete. These injuries are unfortunate, but we've had a lot of clients that have used that time to build a strength foundation they would not otherwise have. There is a very positive approach we will now take."

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 27, 2010; 1:15 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Stephen Strasburg surgery: Here's the bright side
Next: Today's lineup

Comments

I guess Dibbs was wrong and the Chicago pitching coach was right? Rizzo should have traded SS at the deadline.

The Nats town should be re-named to NOVA Health Field.

Posted by: hansenjo | August 27, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

This is just too sad. Hearts throughout Natstown are broken. We all wish you well, Stephen, and look forward to your return. Hang in there, kid.

Posted by: NatsFly | August 27, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

It'll be interesting to see the ripple effect this has on the offseason (i.e. how they approach Free Agency, if this impacts a possible extension to Dunn, ect.).

More of that and less of Boras, please.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | August 27, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

As much as many hearts have been broken in Natstown, this is a true test of the Lerners and the front office to field a competitive team next year. A big sign will be whether they make a serious attempt to resign Adam Dunn. Without Strasuburg and no proven No. 2 starter on the roster, starting pitching will again be another weakness next year unless the Nats can sign someone in free agency as they have little of value to trade.

The Nats having major holes at 2nd and at least one OF position. Bernadina looks like an everyday player and should be auditioning in CF as Morgan is not the long-term answer. These are two large holes to fill in addition to the void of a No. 1 starter without Strasburg.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 27, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Wail.

Gnash teeth.

Rend garment.

Enough about me.

Ok. I’m better now.

Good luck, Stephen. Get well soon.

Let’s play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 27, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

No chance they sign Dunn now. They will feel, by the time Strasburg is ready to be Strasburg again, Harper will be in the middle of the lineup. Next year will be ugly.

Posted by: tcostant | August 27, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The off season approach should not change one iota. The Nats are and should continue to build with an eye out for the future. This teams competitive year will be 2013 at the earliest. It's tough for me as a fan to live with that, but if we see signs of good young talent coming in the system we can embrace it. Free agency will do nothing to improve this team to face that future and will only provide needless stop gaps.

Posted by: bendersx6 | August 27, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree this is a test for ownership. Are they going to field a serious MLB team or a joke next year? If they field a joke, it will be still yet harder for the Nats to attract decent talent and the spiral of downward attendance will continue. Hopefully they will realize that and act like serious MLB owners rather than the bad joke they are in danger of becoming.

As for all the anger directed at Dibble, I think much of that is a redirection of the angst all of us feel today, and he made himself a tempting target. But I have seen no indication that the man wishes anyone ill, and he certainly had nothing to do with today's sad outcome. He is just of the school that believes pitchers are too coddled, a view that many other posters have expressed today. In this case his comments were entirely wrong because the young man was seriously injured, but none of us knew that then. If everyone who ever spoke unwisely were demonized or fired because of it, we would all be unemployed carriers of pitchforks.

Posted by: NatsFly | August 27, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The off season approach should not change one iota. The Nats are and should continue to build with an eye out for the future. This teams competitive year will be 2013 at the earliest. It's tough for me as a fan to live with that, but if we see signs of good young talent coming in the system we can embrace it. Free agency will do nothing to improve this team to face that future and will only provide needless stop gaps.

Posted by: bendersx6 | August 27, 2010 2:15 PM


Strongly agree, although I do think it may change the approach at least one iota or two. ;) Specifically, I can't really see why they re-sign Dunn at this point. Pushing the time for being truly competitive out from 2012 to 2013 would seem to kill that, as Dunn would be in the last year of a hypothetical three year deal at that point...

Posted by: Section220 | August 27, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

They should have traded that draft pick when they had the chance.

Posted by: JohninMpls | August 27, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

It stinks, but the prognosis is on display in the current Cards v. Nats series. Three pitchers have had Tommy John: Carpenter and Zimmermann last night and Jaime Garcia tonight.

If he takes his time and does. not. rush. he hopefully will be okay.

Posted by: gmart68b | August 27, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

JohninMpls -

Draft picks can't be traded in baseball.

Section220 - I think you re-sign Dunn so that the place won't be empty in 2011 and 2012, doing damage to the attendance base for decades to come.

Posted by: Snopes1 | August 27, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Carrying forward, and then I'm done on that front.

Addendum for peric: we’re each entitled to our opinion. You are. I am. Bloggers are. I have no desire to be drawn into a cycle of attack and defend with you. I won’t be responding to your further comments in that vein, either here or on other blogs in which you’ve commented about me today.

---

The problem with this argument natsfan1a is that your wonderful Mr. Dibble claimed that it was the bloggers who "never played, and never seen the MRI or medical opinions" who were opining against his reprehensible statements. Yes, reprehensible.

Defending him makes me wonder ...

Posted by: periculum | August 27, 2010 11:59 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 27, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"Obviously, he can't pitch. There are a lot of other things he can focus on that will help with increasing his durability as an athlete."
---------
I guess that's a future story for either Kilgore or Sheinin about six months from now...

Posted by: Juan-John1 | August 27, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of Adam Dunn, but the idea that you have to re-sign him to sell seats seems to be a bit of a stretch. They'll have a losing team with or without him.

Posted by: Section220 | August 27, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm pretty sure JiM was kidding...

Posted by: Section220 | August 27, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The off season approach should not change one iota. The Nats are and should continue to build with an eye out for the future. This teams competitive year will be 2013 at the earliest. It's tough for me as a fan to live with that, but if we see signs of good young talent coming in the system we can embrace it. Free agency will do nothing to improve this team to face that future and will only provide needless stop gaps.

Posted by: bendersx6 | August 27, 2010 2:15 PM


Strongly agree, although I do think it may change the approach at least one iota or two. ;) Specifically, I can't really see why they re-sign Dunn at this point. Pushing the time for being truly competitive out from 2012 to 2013 would seem to kill that, as Dunn would be in the last year of a hypothetical three year deal at that point...

Posted by: Section220 | August 27, 2010 2:29 PM
________________________________________________________

The LernerStanks can't put their heads or their checkbooks in the sand because of the Strasburg situation. He is one guy. As owners they have a responsibility to the fans to field as competitive of a team year after year as they possibly can.

The signing of retreads year after flippin' year because they want to act like this is KC and be bottom 5 in payroll, is not fielding the most competitive team possible.

Give me a break with this slow build, FA doesn't work crap. Building through the draft should be one aspect of the plan not the whole plan. The Dodgers, Angels, Phillies, Cardinals, Braves, etc. fill major holes in the roster with FA's almost every year so, please spare me with the eye to the future stuff. The future is now and resigning Dunn should be just the tip of the Nats Free Agency iceberg this offseason.

Posted by: Section505203 | August 27, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm firmly in the re-sign Dunn ilk. But I think I understand why it hasn't been done already. There is a long list of somewhat similar players that will be free agents after this season and I suspect the Nats believe that (i) this will drive down the market; and (ii) if they don't sign Dunn they can save face with another similar (and perhaps cheaper) player.

Here's the list (from MLBTR):

Garrett Atkins (31) - $8.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Lance Berkman (35) - $15MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Hank Blalock (30)
Russell Branyan (35) - $5MM mutual option
Jorge Cantu (29)
Frank Catalanotto (37)
Adam Dunn (31)
Troy Glaus (34)
Wes Helms (35)
Eric Hinske (33)
Aubrey Huff (34)
Mike Jacobs (30)
Nick Johnson (32) - $5.5MM mutual option with a $250K buyout
Paul Konerko (35)
Adam LaRoche (31) - $7.5MM mutual option with a $1.5MM buyout
Derrek Lee (35)
Doug Mientkiewicz (37)
Kevin Millar (39)
Lyle Overbay (34)
Carlos Pena (33)
Albert Pujols (31) - $16MM club option with a $5MM buyout
Fernando Tatis (36)
Chad Tracy (31)
Ty Wigginton (33)

Posted by: BobLHead | August 27, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Man, that flowery everything is rainbows and sunshine in the world of the elbow surgery on your most important player that will keep him away from the mound for more than a year is a bit much. The bright side is the much smaller and hard to see side of this whole thing, but no one from Boras to Kasten to Rizzo can hlep but talk about it.

Things are pretty dark. There is no way they innk Dunn now, it was a long shot before Stras went down. They could have re-signed him at a discount in March but they were to shy to spend then. They could have moved him for a MLB ready SP and a prospect or two in July, but too timid to make a deal. Now the pressing need to surround the young Ace with a club that can win is on hold, so the potential two draft picks will be shiny to them. We'll be looking at yet another year of bear with us for yet another year from Kasten and Rizzo.

The Nats have the worst front office in the game and now with Stras coming up lame on top of their ineptitude, they are unlucky to boot.

Maybe Stras comes back and is a world-beater but that is April 2012, most likely. In the mean time, Nats management is going to do very little to make the club a contender. Aubrey Huff and Dave Bush will be next year's placeholder FA additions for us all to be excited about. Just wait and see.

Posted by: dfh21 | August 27, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Aubrey Huff and Dave Bush sounds about right I'm afraid. Huff and Bush. As in, what a bunch of HuffnBush.

Posted by: BobLHead | August 27, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Look people it wasn't a coincidence that the Nats were set to introduce Bryan Harper and Strasburg MRI was set to come back also that day. They knew that Strasburg was done and so did Scott Boras, that's why he also was in town. I hope Strasburg comes back stronger and throwing bullets, but a lot more careful.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | August 27, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

More like beating a dead horse.

-----

Also, I'm pretty sure JiM was kidding...

Posted by: JohninMpls | August 27, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I blame this and most other injuries to the weight room. There is not a single lifting exercise that comes close to a pitcher's throwing motion. If you train an arm with weights, the pitching motion will surely be contrary. Cal Ripken played 2600 straight games. He emphatically would not touch "iron" as he called it. When are teams going to get it.

Posted by: lp_lodestar | August 27, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

@screwjob21 (from previous chat):
"Roger Clemens played 12 seasons for the Red Sox and 22 years in total. Roger's third season he took the Red Sox to the World Series. Proof that Boston did not burn out Clemens during his rookie year."

Looks like you took this from Roger Clemens' Wikipedia article. Of course, the article omits the following about Clemens' second year (1985):

"Midway through the 1985 season, however, Clemens's career was already in danger of being derailed. His shoulder began hurting so much that he could barely lift his pitching arm. Clemens underwent surgery, removing cartilage near his rotator cuff. While some feared that his career might be over, others, like Red Sox pitching coach Bill Fischer speculated that the injury might actually have been a blessing in disguise..."

This was mentioned in at least two of Tom Boswell's columns on the subject. Way to do research, @$$hole.

Posted by: bertbkatz | August 28, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company