All-Star ace Stephen Strasburg is done for the year after the Washington Nationals decided to end his season following a shaky start, costing him a chance to possibly pitch in the playoffs.
Manager Davey Johnson made the announcement Saturday morning with the Nationals holding the best record in the majors. He said the media attention surrounding the innings limit for the 24-year-old right-hander was affecting the pitcher.
“I just told Stephen that his year is over. He’s had a great year. I know what he’s going through,” Johnson said. “The media hype on this thing has been unbelievable. I feel it’s as hard for him as it would be anybody to get mentally, totally committed in the ballgame. And he’s reached his innings limit. So we can get past this and talk about other things for a change.”
Johnson said Strasburg was “emotional” about the decision to end his season immediately. A day earlier, the overall No. 1 pick from the 2009 draft matched a career low by lasting three innings in a 9-7 10-inning loss Miami. He allowed five runs.
“He’s one heck of a pitcher and he’s a heck of a competitor,” Johnson said. “I know he’s been struggling with it for weeks. I know he doesn’t sleep good thinking about it.”
Strasburg went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA in his first full season following elbow-ligament replacement surgery on Sept. 3, 2010. He struck out 197 in 159 innings.
Johnson said the decision was his, and pitching coach Steve McCatty and general manager Mike Rizzo were in agreement.
“This is a plan we put in place February 1st, we’ve been true to the plan and we haven’t wavered from it one bit,” Rizzo said. “This is just the culmination of that plan. I believe in my heart that it’s the right thing to do for the player and the right thing to do for the player is the right thing to do for the franchise.”
Brandon McCarthy is back to his Twitter-happy self, a positive sign for the Oakland Athletics’ pitcher who had surgery after being struck in the head by a line drive Wednesday.
One day after Oakland trainer Nick Paparesta said in Seattle that McCarthy, 29, was still in a “life-threatening” situation, McCarthy tweeted: “The good news in all of this, is that I set up my fantasy lineups beforehand. So there shall be no excuses at this point.”
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp received a cortisone injection in his inflamed left shoulder. … The Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter left the game against the Brewers in the third inning after suffering cuts to his hands when his bat broke.