Two things on my mind this morning about Stephen Strasburg’s arm:
There’s an important distinction to make in what Mike Rizzo said about Strasburg’s MRI last night. He said it looked the same as the one the Nationals had done when they signed him. He didn’t say Strasburg’s arm was perfect.
We know Strasburg had some shoulder inflammation at San Diego State, which would show up on an MRI. Strasburg’s arm isn’t flawless, but the Nationals believe it’s in the same condition as it was when they were confident enough to invest $15.1 million in it.
If this stretches into a matter of weeks before Strasburg pitches again, I could see the Nationals deciding to shut down his season, rather than taking him through a throwing program again. But until that happens, let’s use some restraint.
There’s a very good reason Rizzo and company would want him to pitch again this season; he’s thrown 109 2/3 innings this season, which is two outs more than he pitched at San Diego State last season. The Nationals need to build Strasburg up to the point he can pitch 200 innings in a big league season, and these things are part of that.
Now, they’re going to be extremely cautious going forward, and there’s zero reason to put Strasburg at risk. But if he gets to a point where he can pitch again, there are still innings to get. Let’s not pronounce his season over yet, when there’s a motive to pitch him if he’s healthy enough to do it.