Did The Nationals Dodge A Bullet?

Paul RaymondCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2010

Based off today’s actions one would have to think that the Washington Nationals have avoided a death blow to their organization, as Stephen Strasburg performed his normal post start workouts. After the facial expressions that followed his pitch to Philadelphia Phillies hitter Domonic Brown, one would of thought he wouldn’t throw a baseball for a very long time. Luckily for Nats fans, Strasburg’s post start workouts include just that, some light throwing.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post says “Nationals rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg went through his normal day-after-a-start workout routine this morning, including some light throwing, and reported no discomfort in his right forearm, alleviating any immediate fears that the 22-year-old phenom suffered a season-ending injury Saturday night.”

That’s definitely a positive sign for fans of the Nationals. Not one of them wants to see their teams first true star since moving to Washington hurt so early in his career. I’m still not sold on this being the end of this story thou and I would implore the Nationals fans not to think everything is all clear.

Strasburg did leave the Philadelphia area this morning, heading back to D.C. to undergo an MRI. The front office will then release those results and their intentions for Stephen at some point tomorrow. Till those results are announced things can still take a negative turn. I’d expect for some tidbits to be leaked late tonight, if they are I’ll post them for you.

Regardless of what happens it shows there are some major moves that have to be made with this kid. I’m a firm believer that the young pitchers in the game today don’t throw enough and are treated like babies BUT the team needs to shut Stephen down for the rest of this season. After shoulder issues and now this “forearm” issue he’s showing us that his body can’t take much more this year. So the smart thing to do would be sit him down, sacrifice the extra ticket sales this year for a long future of sales.

Second, I think this injury shows issues with Strasburg’s delivery. He’s having problems with two completely different areas of his arm now and only thing I can think of to do that is the mechanics in his delivery. Strasburg has apparently had this type of forearm injury before, in college that is, and it usually goes away in a brief amount of time. What’s troubling to me is that the pain occurs when he throws his change up. Wouldn’t that make it something in his grip and delivery of the pitch?

Take a look at this analysis by Chris O’Leary, it was done prior to last years draft and not has much changed since. Compared to a lot of great pitchers, hard and soft throwing, his mechanics vary greatly while his delivery mirrors those pitchers who have suffered injuries early in their career.

Regardless what happens with the MRI this gives the Nationals a chance to finally work with Strasburg and correcting his mechanics and making him a PITCHER. It’s my belief that right now he just over powers hitters, his fastball nears 100 while his change up is 90+, add in a little movement and that dangerous curve and hitters can’t touch him. If there were ever an injury and a loss of velocity he becomes just another Mark Prior, Eric Gagne, Kerry Wood, or Joel Zumaya.

So this forearm injury gives the Nationals a chance to shut him down and work with him on making sure he becomes closer to the next Nolan Ryan then another Mark Prior.

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