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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Diamond Dirt: Strasburg the guinea pig

  • Every baseball season there's a question that forever looms with an unclear answer.
    With the 2012 season over it appears that question surrounds Washington Nationals star pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
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  • Every baseball season there's a question that forever looms with an unclear answer.
    With the 2012 season over it appears that question surrounds Washington Nationals star pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
    After having Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow, he was given 160 innings and when that time came he'd be shut down for the year.
    Sounds a little odd because many players have Tommy John surgery, go through the rehab and come back without any limits the next season. But Washington wanted careful with their former first round draft pick. They watched him with maternal eyes, tread with caution and made sure to keep him in good health. So the limit was set.
    Many debated it throughout the season and especially in the playoffs. After all, the Nationals won their first division championship since moving to Washington and they were without their ace. There were tweets, blogs and headlines all over saying that Strasburg should be pitching. Even former pitcher Tommy John, the man whom the surgery is named for, came out and said Strasburg should be on the mound. The Nationals wouldn't budge and the pitcher accepted the team's decision to end his season on Sept. 8.
    As odd as it all seemed, to me it seems like a move that could make or break the Nationals. Is it going to be a devastating? Of course not. But this could end up being historic in the sense that other teams start taking similar action or historic in the fact that it makes the history books and is mentioned as something the team tried and failed at.
    But this isn't going to be something that catches on over night. How Strasburg comes back in 2013, how he performs in certain conditions, what kind of numbers he puts up, the differences of his pitching before and after surgery that's all going to be factored into if this shutdown was worth it or not. It may take all of 2013 and even 2014 to make all the comparisons and theories.
    No matter what this decision is going to be remembered. Whether it gets embedded into history with head shakes or applause remains to be seen, until then it still remains a bold move.
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