The Washington Nationals placed their superstar phenom wunderkind righty on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 22, because of shoulder stiffness. Strasburg reported discomfort before being scratched from a scheduled start Tuesday.
Manager Jim Riggleman says Strasburg "Absolutely" will pitch again this season, and Strasburg himself says he's already feeling better.
"It's out of my control, so I'm not really going to worry about it," he said. "It's what’s best for the team. ... I'm just going to keep working hard, and when they activate me, I'll be ready to go."
The Nats have been extremely cautious with Strasburg at every level of his development — limiting his innings, pitches thrown, etc. — yet, the news comes as a huge disappointment and concern to a franchise that is staking much on him being its centerpiece.
It's also causing apocalyptic fretting — Straspocalyptic, if you will — in some corners.
A respected pitching coach said a pitcher with Strasburg's delivery was bound to get hurt. Meanwhile, Hall of Famer Jim Bunning says Strasburg needs to pick himself up by his stirrups and pitch through the soreness like he would have.
Bunning, a former right-hander with the Philadelphia Phillies who's retiring from the U.S. Senate, says Strasburg is acting like a wimp. Really, he inferred that.
"Five-hundred twenty starts, I never refused the ball," Bunning, a Kentucky senator who hurled a perfect game in 1964 and struck out 2,855 batters in his Major League career, told POLITICO. "What a joke!"
Bunning isn't just whistling Dixie. He says he's seen Strasburg pitch four times and was at Nationals Park on Tuesday for the aborted start, in which Miguel Batista(notes) pitched well and the Nats won.
But it obviously left a sour taste regarding Strasburg.
"My arm!" Bunning sarcastically cried as he pretended to clutch his shoulder in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.
Bunning is being a tad reactionary — not to mention callous — but everyone knows that, back in his day, pitchers had to walk uphill, both ways, to and from the pitching rubber.
At least one expert still working in the field claims that njury might have been inevitable in Strasburg's case. In an interview with SIRIUS XM radio, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper compared Strasburg to Kerry Wood(notes) and Mark Prior(notes).
That can't be good.
Via the New York Post:
"The real concern is what I call an upside-down arm action," Cooper said. "I am not wishing this guy bad, but for him to be having problems right now when they are really, really watching him, what are they going to see when they are trying to get 220 innings from him? He does something with his arm action that is difficult, in my mind, to pitch a whole lot of innings on."
Both of their opinions have value, but it's highly possible Cooper and Bunning are also talking out of their south sides. Neither is in the Nats' inner circle — or inside Strasburg's mind.
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- Jim Bunning