WASHINGTON -- Two years ago this month, word started spreading that the Nationals were going to shut down Stephen Strasburg for the season. The team wanted to be cautious after Strasburg's Tommy John surgery in late 2010, and eventually shut him down Sept. 8, resulting in the right-hander missing the postseason.
At first, Strasburg was upset about being shut down, but he said Friday that the Nationals had his best interest at heart. It also helped that the club had a history of shutting down pitchers who had undergone elbow reconstruction. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, for example, was shut down after 161 1/3 innings in 2011.
"It seems like a long time ago that happened," Strasburg said. "It was tough at the time. Just seeing how prevalent injuries are these days, I'm convinced the Nationals had my best interest at heart. It's easy for an organization to go out there and just ride the young horse until it breaks. I think that is a testament to [general manager] Mike Rizzo and the ownership here. They want to see me have a long career and hopefully a long and successful career. If that happens, they are going to be happy, too."
In 2014, Strasburg is not on any limitations and there is a good chance he will play in the postseason this year. Entering Friday's opener vs. the Giants, the Nationals had the best record in the National League and were seven games ahead of the Braves in the NL East.
Strasburg is pleased that he is healthy and there are no distractions about being shut down.
"I feel great right now. My arm has felt great all year. My body is accustomed to the workload that it takes," Strasburg said. "I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm seeing good results, especially in recovery in between starts. I try to keep it the same and don't do anything stupid in between bad outings. I'll be sitting pretty well."
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. Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less