Skip to content

Leo Mazzone calls Strasburg shutdown “pathetic,” forgets what happened to Steve Avery

Aug 16, 2012, 2:02 PM EDT

leo mazzone braves phone

I’ve mentioned several times that I don’t like the impending Stephen Strasburg shutdown. I think that the Nationals, especially after they realized they had a playoff contender on their hands, needed to manage his workload in such a way that he could pitch into the postseason.

That said, one cannot be blind to pitcher injuries and workload in making the pitch Strasburg case. And one guy who appears to be really, really blind to it is former Braves and Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone.

Mazzone was on the radio in San Francisco yesterday, and he told a story about how back in the Braves glory years, his young pitchers used to carry a big load.  Like Steve Avery for instance:

Let me tell you something we had pitchers when they were young in 1991 okay…Steve Avery and John Smoltz and Pete Smith and Tom Glavine were all kids. They took us to the 7th game of the World Series and they all had great careers ... I remember in 1993 when we trying to catch the Giants and we were out in San Francisco and we were 7 and half games out or 8…whatever it was in late July. We are trying to catch him and Steve Avery who was 22 years old at the time already was an MVP of the NLCS and said, ‘Leo we got them now.’ I said, ‘Oh I am glad you said we got them now. Last I looked we were about 7 or 8 out.’  He said, ‘No. John Burkett and Bill Swift are talking about how they pitched 150 innings and they might be getting a little tired. We don’t get going until we got to 150.’ ”

Steve Avery pitched 223 innings that year, which was his age 23 season. The year before he pitched 233. When he was 21 he pitched 210. In the minors and majors in the two years before that he pitched 170 or so each season. On top of that, as Mazzone noted, he pitched a lot in the postseason: 29 innings in 1991, 20 innings in 1992 and 13 in 1993.

And at the end of that 1993 season he got injured and was never truly healthy or durable again.

I don’t think Strasburg is on the Steve Avery path. The Nationals have been careful with him and, even if you disagree with the strategy they’re employing now, they are trying to continue to be careful with him.  But man, if you’re going to go after what they’re doing, you probably shouldn’t be bringing up Steve freakin’ Avery as your go-to example.

Latest Posts
  1. Matt Garza will rejoin the Brewers’ rotation on Wednesday

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

    Matt Garza Matt Garza

    The Brewers will get Matt Garza back in the rotation on Wednesday, when they’ll take on the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

  2. Brandon Belt still 10 days away from resuming baseball activities

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    brandon belt giants getty Getty Images

    Brandon Belt will be limited to cardio for another week and a half. The first baseman has been sidelined since early August with concussion symptoms.

  3. Orioles acquire Kelly Johnson from the Red Sox

    Aug 30, 2014, 10:46 PM EDT

    Kelly Johnson Kelly Johnson

    Kelly Johnson completes his tour of the AL East as the Orioles acquired him from the Red Sox on Saturday evening.

  4. The Angels had interest in acquiring A.J. Burnett from the Phillies

    Aug 30, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

    The Angels, searching for a rotation upgrade after losing Garrett Richards to an injury, had interest in A.J. Burnett of the Phillies, but the right-hander’s player option for 2015 was a deterrent.

  5. Orioles acquire Alejandro De Aza from the White Sox

    Aug 30, 2014, 9:29 PM EDT

    Alejandro De Aza Alejandro De Aza

    The Orioles acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the White Sox in exchange for a pair of low-level minor league pitchers on Saturday.

  6. Dustin Pedroia exits Saturday’s game with a head injury

    Aug 30, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT

    Dustin Pedroia Dustin Pedroia

    Dustin Pedroia took an elbow to the head in the second inning of Saturday’s game against the Rays, and had to leave the game.

  7. Daniel Hudson will return to the major leagues as a reliever

    Aug 30, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    daniel hudson getty Getty Images

    It’s been more than two years, but Daniel Hudson will return to the major leagues on Tuesday or Wednesday, pitching out of the Diamodnbacks’ bullpen.

  8. Hanley Ramirez a late addition to Dodgers’ lineup Saturday

    Aug 30, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

    Hanley Ramirez Hanley Ramirez

    Hanley Ramirez worked out quickly in front of manager Don Mattingly and trainer Stan Conte, who deemed him fit to play on Saturday against the Padres.

  9. Rangers activate Derek Holland from the disabled list

    Aug 30, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT

    derek holland getty Getty Images

    Derek Holland will make his 2014 debut on Tuesday against the Royals, also helping the Rangers claim a major league record.

  10. Don Mattingly on Yasiel Puig: “It’s hard to be really emotional and play 162″

    Aug 30, 2014, 5:41 PM EDT

    Yasiel Puig Getty Getty Images

    Puig has really scuffled this month, hitting .218/.306/.241 with two extra-base hits (both doubles) over 24 games.

  11. Blue Jays throw one-hitter against Yankees

    Aug 30, 2014, 4:29 PM EDT

    94676dc1dc0beb29ee4c0171e07ca158 Getty Images

    Drew Hutchison and Aaron Sanchez shut down the Jacoby Ellsbury-less Yankees.

  12. Report: White Sox expected to target Victor Martinez this offseason

    Aug 30, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT

    Victor Martinez AP AP

    The White Sox are reportedly interested in signing Victor Martinez away from a division rival.

  13. Astros claim right-hander Samuel Deduno off waivers from the Twins

    Aug 30, 2014, 2:58 PM EDT

    Samuel Deduno Getty Getty Images

    Deduno has split this season between the starting rotation and the bullpen, putting up a 4.60 ERA and 74/41 K/BB ratio in 92 innings over eight starts and 22 relief appearances.

  14. Bryce Harper is 15th player in MLB history to reach 50 career homers before age-22 season

    Aug 30, 2014, 2:07 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

    Bryce Harper hit one of six home runs for the Nationals last night in an 8-3 victory over the Mariners. In doing so, he joined some impressive company.

  15. The Dodgers took the shift to the extreme last night

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    dodgers shift

    And wouldn’t you know it, it worked.

  16. UPDATE: Hot-hitting Jacoby Ellsbury out Saturday with ankle injury

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT

    Jacoby Ellsbury AP AP

    Ellsbury injured his left ankle on a slide into home plate on Friday night.

  17. UPDATE: Steve Pearce considered day-to-day after MRI shows no tears in abdominal

    Aug 30, 2014, 10:36 AM EDT

    Steve Pearce AP AP

    Pearce owns a surprising .289/.354/.532 batting line with 16 home runs and 37 RBI over 85 games this season.

Featured video

Who are the favorites for Rookie of the Year?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Soler (3692)
  2. Y. Molina (3293)
  3. R. Castillo (2953)
  4. B. Posey (2157)
  5. D. Murphy (2105)
  1. D. Wright (2088)
  2. B. Colon (2006)
  3. M. Wacha (1968)
  4. A. Rizzo (1907)
  5. J. Votto (1814)