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Stephen Strasburg: shagging fly balls, possibly batting

Sep 13, 2012, 8:23 AM EDT

Stephen Strasburg AP AP

Stephen Strasburg may not be pitching anymore, but it’s not like he’s dead. Indeed, Davey Johnson has an idea for him:

“I check on him,” Johnson said. “I told him yesterday, to give him something to think about, I said, ‘Keep taking batting practice. I might need your bat. If I can’t use your arm, I’ll use your bat’ … I’m serious, yeah.”

Well, he’s not nearly the liability at the plate that most pitchers are so I suppose there are worse ideas. Also:

Strasburg made his final start of the season five days ago, but already he has become antsy with no more starts to look forward to. During the Nationals’ series in New York, Strasburg has shagged batting practice in center field, mostly standing by himself.

Nothin’ can go wrong out there, of course.

Seriously, though, Nats fans had better hope that the baseball gods aren’t suffering from an irony deficit disorder these days, because the target, it is so big right now.

 

  1. kevinleaptrot - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Hope he doesn’t blow out his knee like Rivera did early in the season.

  2. rooney24 - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    For starters, I don’t have a problem with Strassburg being shut down. The team said they would do it at the start of the season and are sticking to their word. Everyone yelling about the shut down would be yelling and calling the team liars if they hadn’t stuck to their word and let him pitch. Besides, they can win without him. They are better with him, but can win without him.

    That being said, one odd thing could come out of this. If the Nats do go on a playoff run, and reach or win the World Series, where does that leave Strassburg? If he isn’t pitching, there is no way he is on the playoff roster. So, he will just be a guy along for the ride. How will that make him feel, and how might that affect future negotiations. Sure, the team did what they thought was best to protect his future. But, at the same time, they run the risk of making a guy feel like he isn’t part of the team right now and I wonder if it will cost them down the road at some point.

    • kkolchak - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:45 AM

      Strasburg will have four years to reflect on the fact that the Nats were acting in his best interests, and anyway how tough he is to negotiate with is going to have everything to do with Scott Boras, who the Nats seem to have a very good working relationship with. Boras is obviously savvy enough to know that the Nats were protecting their investment in Strasburg–and his own.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      The same place Adam Wainwright was last fall, watching the Cards win the World Series without him. Dying a little inside. But Wainwright came back.

      Of course, the two players’ situations are different. Wainwright is 31 and had a World Series ring already (2006). Strasburg is 24, has not yet pitched a complete MLB season, and is on a team that has just started contending. The same intense competitve spirit hat makes him die a little inside now should still be there next season.

      Where will Stephen Strasburg be? Most likely, starting for the Nats on Opening Day 2013, without an innings limit.

  3. baseballisboring - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    Ohhhhh the irony if he rips an oblique while taking BP.

    • kkolchak - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      So he should just sit around on his ass doing nothing? He could hurt himself in the weight room, too, after all Better stop lifting weights because you never know.

      Maybe he should pull a Lackey and sit around the clubhouse drinking cheap beer and and eating take out chicken. I’m sure his teammates would REALLY look up to him then.

      • baseballisboring - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:57 AM

        Yeah, I know. I wasn’t even saying he shouldn’t do it, you hyper-sensitive nuisance. If he wants to shag flyballs god bless him. I was merely pointing out how ironic it would be…I mean, imagine the backlash if he hurt himself shagging fly balls or taking BP because he couldn’t pitch. Oh my god.

  4. heyblueyoustink - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    I read this post and thought of “Bubble Boy”. I don’t know why, I just did.

    • bleedgreen - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      He’s got no ‘munities!

  5. sfm073 - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    If he’s still on the roster why not just use him out of the pen for an inning once a week?

  6. willclarkgameface - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Oh, how cute. Stephen Strasburg participating in baseball activity. You know what – if the dude can’t pitch, SEND HIM HOME.

    Put him on the 60 day DL, open up a roster spot for some kid, and let this thing go away already. Or did Rizzo think that just having Strasburg in the dugout will help ticket sales?

    This story is so boring for me now. I don’t get it (like a great deal of analysts on MLB network) and wish I didn’t have to hear it anymore.

    Well, that day will come when they are ousted from the playoffs in the 4th game of the NLDS.

    Have fun playing golf, Rizzo and company.

    • nolanwiffle - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      Why so angry?

    • natslady - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      And yet, here you are, clicking on it and commenting…

      This story is so boring for me now. I don’t get it (like a great deal of analysts on MLB network) and wish I didn’t have to hear it anymore.

  7. delawarephilliesfan - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Once John and Paul recorded their songs, and George got his requsite 2 songs for the album – they all of a sudden would realize Ringo didn’t sing anything. “Here you go mate, this one is puhr-fect for you. It’s called Yellow Submarine”

    How did the best young pitcher in baseball suddenly become Ringo?

    I know it’s just one year, but this is truly bizarro world territory now…..

    • heyblueyoustink - Sep 13, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      King Felix is Ringo?

      • nolanwiffle - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        King Felix is Pete Best.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

        26 is a tad below the average (which is 28), but 7 seasons in the bigs and you are no longer young

    • hardballtalkusername - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      Biiiiiiillllyyyy Sheeeears

      • delawarephilliesfan - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        Yea, that one was solid, so I had to take Yellow Submarine.

        And lets not forget

  8. 12strikes - Sep 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Dear Mike Rizzo..

    I just wanted to take a moment to say that I believe you are doing the right thing in shutting Strasburg down so he doesn’t get hurt pitching. I have to say that it is also a great idea to have a pitcher shag balls .

    Keep up the good work.
    Signed..
    Mariano Rivera

  9. ThisIsBaseball - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Chien-Ming Wang says ‘Hi!

  10. dcfan4life - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Ya know what bugs me, the Phillies are making a run. And there doing it with pitching. Why do i bring this up, because even if they dont make the playoffs this means the Phillies will be back contending next year. So will the Braves. If the Mets and Marlins can fix there bullpens they may even contend. This could be the toughest division in baseball next year. Which means how many playoff seasons will Strasburg actually partake in since he wont be pitching in this one? I wonder what kind of toll all this thinking and watching and not pitching is taking on the young mans mind. As we all knew all along, we have to wait and see if this is the right decision. But i think its clear, its gonna drive Strasburg nuts not pitching whether the Nats win or lose in the playoffs.

    • natslady - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      It will be interesting to see if (if we make it that far) if Stras is on the 25-man roster for the WS where he could DH. For the NL series (plural, hope), you have to ask whether you can afford to keep a spot for someone who would be only capable of pinch-hitting. So you would expect DeRosa over Stras because games could go extras.

      However, Michael Morse made it clear during interleague he didn’t like DH’ing, it messed with his rhythm. But pitchers are used to sitting around.

      Anyway, I’m not going to worry about Strasburg’s psyche. Lannan had it a lot worse.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        “It will be interesting to see if (if we make it that far) if Stras is on the 25-man roster for the WS where he could DH.”

        And you would want Strasburg DH’ing, because…….???

        Being a good hitter for a pitcher is not the same as being a good hitter. Wilson Valdez won a game last year for the Phillies. As a Utlity player, he looked awesome as a pitcher.

        Don’t quote me his avergae, I already looked it up. 13 hits this year. I think the Nats can find a better DH

  11. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    They guy who pitched 66% of the innings in 20% of the team’s games won’t be doing that anymore? Not to diminish Strasburg’s greatness or the importance of starting pitching, but Strasburg is not the reason the Nats are in first, and he won’t be the reason the sink or swim come playoff time.

  12. pinstriperjim - Sep 13, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Maybe a stupid question, but instead of starting Strasburg’s season in April and ending it in early September why didn’t the Nationals start Strasburg’s season in late May so that he would be available for all of the playoffs? If they can do without him going forward couldn’t they have done without him in the first 6-8 weeks of the season? Stupid question? I think it’s more like stupid front office management.

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