Nationals manager Davey Johnson's announcement that Stephen Strasburg has thrown his final pitch in 2012 caught many off guard. Just last night, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope that his shortened outing against the Marlins might prod the Nationals to scrap plans for the right-hander's final start to be Sept. 12 at Citi Field versus the Mets.
Instead, the Nats moved to distance themselves from the intense spotlight surrounding their unprecedented plan to shut down their ace in the middle of a pennant race, preventing him from pitching during what could be the team's first appearance in the postseason since moving to Washington, D.C., prior to the 2005 season.
Strasburg, who bounced into the clubhouse around 10:20 a.m. Saturday looking as if he had no idea he was about to be informed of the team's decision, was not made available to reporters after Johnson's announcement, and the clubhouse was closed to the media.
Here are some more comments from Johnson regarding the decision.
* On how he summed up Strasburg's season: "He had a great year, an outstanding year, even with this looming over him. (Jordan) Zimmermann had a great year last year with the situation similar."
* On whether there was a sense of relief from Strasburg because of today's decision: "I wasn't going to drag it out. Just taking the ball out of his hand."
* On whether the Nationals could have done anything differently in communicating the plan for Strasburg: "I wouldn't have done anything differently."
* On whether the Nationals could have used Strasburg differently to allow him to pitch deeper into the season: "There's dangers in changing a pitcher's program."
* On why so much attention has been focused on Strasburg and the shutdown when barely anyone seemed to worry about the team's plan to shut down Zimmermann last year in his first fulls season after Tommy John surgery: "The media hype is because it's Stephen Strasburg, No. 1 pick. ... It's a whole new scenario, but it's the same scenario."
* On how Strasburg handled the media attention: "With the media attention, I see it's harder for him to ceoncentrate on the job. I'm sure he's physically a little tired. But this kind of attention has exacerbated the situation."