Through all the uproar they have created over shutting Stephen Strasburg down prior to the postseason, the Nationals front office has maintained that they are looking out for the best interests of their ace. That is obviously the goal, and GM Mike Rizzo and the Washington owners have every right to protect their investment, but it is interesting to note that the team did not consult Dr. Lewis Yocum, the man who performed the elbow surgery on Strasburg.
“I wasn’t asked,” Dr. Yocum told the LA Times. “There’s no statistic as far as studies. “It’s based on Mike’s experience. Mike is extremely confident. His track record speaks for itself. Zimmermann did extremely well.”
Yocum is referring to Jordan Zimmerman, who had Tommy John surgery in 2009 before returning to pitch 31 innings in 2010. He was then capped at 161 1/3 last season before not missing a start this year and putting together an impressive 3.01 ERA. It worked for Zimmerman, so Rizzo is taking the same approach with Strasburg — playoffs or no playoffs.
Again, Strasburg is the Nationals’ investment and it is ultimately their choice to decide how to handle him. However, fans should know that the shutdown isn’t simply the result of doctor’s orders. Or not the one who performed the procedure, at least.
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