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John Smoltz’s solution to the Strasburg innings limit: he should fake injuries

Jul 16, 2012, 3:02 PM EDT

Stephen Strasburg Getty Images

There’s no ideal way to handle the Stephen Strasburg situation. At least not since GM Mike Rizzo made it loud and clear that, yes, the Nats were going to cap his innings come hell, highwater or a playoff race.

But John Smoltz has an idea. He told ESPN radio’s Scott Van Pelt what he’d do in order to shave off some innings without it becoming a big deal:

“Honestly, I know this is gonna sound . . . well, I’m a little bit different anyways,” Smoltz began. “I’d create my own little gap. I’d have a blister one day, maybe a hangnail the next start. You know, I think there’s ways to do it. And I get it — their statement is every game counts. Well, it does, but it doesn’t count as much as in September.

I suspect this sort of thing happens more than we realize. Not part of some innings limit thing, but just guys taking mini-vacations in the middle of seasons to give themselves a break. Many have actually advocated this for starting pitchers. Given them scheduled skipped starts and time off. Possibly because, I’m guessing, lots of pitchers sort of do this already with acquiescence from the team.

(Link via DC Sports Bog)

  1. 700lb - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Oh sly fox..

    If the Nationals are truly’s going to get very interesting to say the least.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      I didn’t listen to the full interview, but it sure sounds like something that players do all the time. Especially interesting coming from a guy who lead the league in innings pitched twice.

  2. butchhuskey - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    This would only prove Rob Dibble’s theory that Strasburg exaggerates injuries and Rob Dibble should never be proven right about anything.

  3. hittfamily - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    So maybe Smolyze didn’t actually burn himself ironing afterall. Maybe he just had the coolest excuse ever for wanting to take the kids to the zoo, or that aquarium they have in Atlanta. That thing is AMAZING!

  4. Jonny 5 - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    That seems fairly complicated to me. I’d just have him pitch every other normal start then use him in the playoffs if need be.

    • 5thbase - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      Pitching requires very precise fine motor skills that can’t simply just be picked up when not used for a long period of time. He can’t sit the last 6 weeks of the season and then be close to 100% for the playoffs. He really needs to be on top of his game going into the playoffs without hitting the innings threshold that they have set for him if he’s going to be effective in the playoffs.

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:13 PM

        That’s why I’d scratch him for every other start. I typed that, but you read something else.

    • natslady - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      Yeah. Because you really really want John Lannan taking the other starts.

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM

        No because you really want Strasburg to pitch for you if you make the playoffs. Imagine if the Nats allow S.S. to go over his pitch limit and he blows out his tendon again. Imagine the shitstorm fans and talking heads will give the organization for not caring about player health, blah, blah, blah. Not to mention the limits they put on these players are for good reason. they don’t do it arbitrarily. There aren’t too many more options to keep playing him enough to keep him fresh for whole games, while not exceeding his innings pitched limit.

  5. nolanwiffle - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Kinda makes me appreciate Cal Ripken all the more.

    • icewalker946 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      “Back then, they didn’t keep pitch counts,” Grieve said. “And he’s walking nine or 10 guys in some of those games. There were probably a lot of times when he was throwing 200 pitches a game when he was 22, 23 years old.

      “You have a guy throwing 200 pitches now, you’ll be taken in front of a judge for child abuse. The agent will get into it. The league will investigate.”

      In one particularly gritty performance, (Nolan) Ryan threw 235 pitches in a 13-inning outing against Boston and got a no-decision.

      I have read that Ryan thinks pitchers should throw more, not less, to strengthen the arm.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:29 PM

        You’re going to listen to Nolan Ryan’s advice on longevity? What the heck would he know about that? What? He pitched his 6th and 7th no-hitters after turning 40? Oh. Never mind.

      • icewalker946 - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:40 PM

        I was about to fall out of my chair when I started reading your comment. That was a good reply!

  6. poprox13 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Could always fake an injury and go play some golf.

    – Josh Beckett

    • colehamelz - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      Why not just drill a batter here & there and earn that time off?! Ya friggin pansies…

      • willsolo - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:01 PM

        Old School at it’s finest.

  7. kkolchak - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Strasburg has shown what kind of competitor he is by using his time off after the TJ surgery to turn himself into an excellent hitting pitcher. I don’t think faking an injury would be his style, at least not until he’s been in the league for awhile and the aches and pains start to mount up.

  8. sfm073 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Skipping Every other start is a pretty good idea. You could even use him in the bp for an inning or two in between those starts.

  9. mojosmagic - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    This inning pitch thing is a joke. When you baby a guy to this degree he will never develop as he should.

  10. koreanfandeath - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    The really strange thing about his comments is that Smoltz made some comments about teammates faking injuries his last year in the league. Chipper Jones thought they were directed at him and got upset that Smoltz was talking through the media instead of keeping it in the clubhouse.

  11. crash1582 - Jul 17, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    Would be very suprised if they see this thing though. Why would a GM put any kind of organizational gameplan out in public like this if it was true.

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