NEW YORK -- Lewis Yocum, the doctor who performed Tommy John surgery on Stephen Strasburg in 2010, issued a statement Thursday recanting what he told the Los Angeles Times about not being consulted on how to handle the Nationals right-hander.
Strasburg was shut down by the Nationals this past Saturday in response to the risks of pitching too many innings a season after major reconstructive surgery.
Yocum had initially said, "I wasn't asked," about handling Strasburg, but he backtracked a bit when he issued the following statement Thursday, published in the L.A. Times:
"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 [general manager] 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."
In the initial article, Yocum claimed he hasn't talked to Rizzo since last year, and Rizzo set his own standards based on how right-hander Jordan Zimmermann performed last year after Tommy John surgery.
The Nationals declined to comment on the L.A. Times story, but two baseball sources said the Nationals did take into consideration what Yocum had to say immediately after Strasburg's surgery.
Rizzo had consistently said this season that he would use the "eye test" to determine when Strasburg would be shut down, and that the decision was his.
"We have a history on these type of rehabilitations, surgeries and how they get back to play a year after the Tommy John surgery," Rizzo said on Saturday. "We followed the protocol. We had parameters set in mind. After [Friday's] start, we just figured that mentally and physically, Stephen looked like he was fatigued. We decided, what's the difference of 159 1/3 innings or 163, [164 or 165] innings? We said, 'Let's pull the plug today, and we move on with the season and try to finish the season off positively.'"
Strasburg's last game was Friday against the Marlins. He lasted three innings and allowed five runs on six hits. He threw 67 pitches, 37 for strikes.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.