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Dr. Lewis Yocum clarifies his comments on the Stephen Strasburg shutdown

Sep 13, 2012, 8:34 PM EDT

Stephen Strasburg AP AP

After being quoted as saying that he “wasn’t asked” about the Stephen Strasburg shutdown, Dr. Lewis Yocum clarified his comments to the Los Angeles Times late this afternoon.

Yocum is now saying that all parties involved — including himself, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, Strasburg and agent Scott Boras — agreed last year that the pitcher would face an innings-limit in 2012. He also said that he has maintained dialogue with the Nationals and team doctors during the season and spoke with Rizzo recently as August 13.

“I would like to correct the misimpression generated from today’s L.A. Times article, that I have not been a participant in discussions with the Washington Nationals regarding the recovery strategy for pitcher Stephen Strasburg.  In fact, I have been contacted repeatedly and have had numerous discussions with the Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and the team’s medical personnel, as recently as mid-August.  While the final decision was up to the team, as is standard practice, I was supportive of their decision and am comfortable that my medical advice was responsibly considered.”

As Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post notes, the misunderstanding could have occurred because Yocum thought he was being asked if he helped decide precisely when Strasburg was being shut down. He wasn’t. And he said as much this time around, as well. But in the original story he was quoted as saying that he hadn’t spoken with Rizzo since last year. How could he suddenly forget that? Sure, maybe this is one big misunderstanding, but it still smells pretty fishy.

  1. ezthinking - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    The only thing that smells is shitty reporting, giving a “quote” without “quoting” the question. As in,

    Reporter: I know you can’t hardly walk, but how are feeling?

    Player: I’m feeling good.

    Reporter: Are you playing tonight?

    Player: No.

    Article – Player x say “I’m feeling good.” He’s not in the lineup tonight. Manager must be an idiot/over-protective or player is soft.

    Happens all the time with print media or ‘story editing.’

    • papalurchdxb - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:51 AM

      makes no sense, if he can’t hardly walk and is feeling good, the article is most likely accurate. However if he can hardly walk, then you probably have a point.

  2. shzastl - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Maybe they emailed or txted but never ‘spoke’

  3. dakotah55 - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Hasn’t this horse been sufficiently beaten to death?

  4. papichulo55 - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    I was behind Curt Flood 100% when he sued MLB and changed the face of professnal sports in America. But now, we seem to have gone too far in the other direction. In this case, its very clear that the big boss, the guy who signs the checks, wants to shut him down. He’s paying for that privilege, investing a *hitload of money in this player, isnt he? Will the doctoror agent back up their opinions and insure the owners investment in this player? ….Exactly!

  5. spudatx - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Sounds like the guy without a massive financial investment in Strausburg said, “Why not keep him going? He’ll probably be ok.” when the team’s owners/operators said, “We can’t risk it.”

  6. dcfan4life - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    2 days without a Strasburg story. Even as a huge Nationals fan, can we please have 2 days Strasburg free. Is that too much to ask…?

    • delawarephilliesfan - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      I say this not as a Phillies fan – I say this as a marketing professional.

      The Nats have no one to blame but themselves that this story won’t go away. All these “It was not Mike Rizzo’s plan, it was the doctors plan” stuff was always bound to keep it alive. You can get conflicting comments, people may not remember conversations the exact same way, and of course, you can ALWAYS find another doctor who will contradict your doctor. Once you go down that road, you are inviting conflict.

      Had the Nats simply said “We are limiting him to 160 pitches, because that is our gut”, and left out all the “medical advice”, the story would have far, far fewer points to debate. Teams make decisions all the time – from the simple stuff of leaving/taking out the starting pitcher with 1 out in the 7th, to the more complex like trading a Single A prospect who has potential. Certainly the decisions that are wrong will get criticized, but they are decisions and everyone realizes teams have to make decisions. I think the Nats handled this terribly from a PR perspective. They should have left the medical team as a side point

  7. shawndc04 - Sep 14, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    >> but it still smells pretty fishy.<<

    The only thing smelling fishy is the press.

  8. vercmj - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    It doesn’t smell fishy, at all. What smells fishy is this site trying to get a sensationalized story out of nothing. Dr. Yokum repeatedly was consulted by the Washington Nationals GM, Mike Rizzo, as recently as mid-August, about shutting down Stephen Strasburg. Of course, Dr. Yokum is not going to give an exact number of innings when Strasburg should be shut down. As Dr. Yokum said, that is a team decision, but, in general, Dr. Yokum is supportive of what the Nationals did, and Dr. Yokum, medically supports the Nationals decision. How many times does this have to be said. There is no story here. You are trying to get one, when there is not one. This is typical sensationalism journalism. I am sick of it. It’s one reason people do not watch television news and television sports commentators; they are sensationalism promoters, instead of news reporters.

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