David Ross: Nats’ Strasburg put in bad position

NEW YORK — After the Nationals shut down starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg for the season and playoffs, following through with the plan they believed would protect his health in his first full season after “Tommy John” elbow surgery, Braves veteran catcher David Ross expressed what is a popular opinion among players regarding the unusual situation.

“If you were a teammate, as a teammate they’ve got to be looking at it as, we’ve got a chance to win the World Series,” Ross said of the NL East-leading Nationals. “Obviously they’ve got to have a lot of confidence over there [with the position they’re in]. And especially for a veteran guy like me, I mean I’m not saying I’m the richest guy in the world, but like, I’m not longer playing for [money]. I want to win. I don’t want to be on a losing team. I want to win. And the reason why I’m playing is to get in the playoffs and have a chance to win the World Series.

“I would have a hard time dealing with that [shutting down Strasburg]. I wouldn’t be real happy about it. But as players, we don’t get to make those calls, unfortunately.”

When a reporter said it put Strasburg in a bad position, Ross said, “It puts everybody – there’s not one person that it doesn’t put in a bad position, in my opinion. All his teammates, I’m sure, want him to be pitching. I’m sure his manager wants him to be pitching. And I’m sure he wants to be pitching. You don’t hear much from him; he doesn’t say much. But I don’t see how you could not want to go into the postseason.

“You listen to guys like [St. Louis pitcher Chris] Carpenter and those guys saying, he wouldn’t trade having success this year for what he did last year.”

Carpenter is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome in his shoulder and hasn’t pitched since the World Series, but still hopes to return should the Cardinals advance to the postseason again.

“Even though probably affected him, he pushed himself really hard, he wouldn’t trade that for anything,” Ross said. “That says a lot about how much it means to pitch well in the postseason and win a World Series.”

Medlen in rare air

Kris Medlen won  his sixth consecutive start Saturday and improved to 7-0 with a 0.81 ERA in eight starts since moving from the bullpen July 31. He’s 12-0 with 2.64 ERA in 22 starts since the beginning of the 2010 season, and 13-0 in his last 24 starts going back to 2009.

The only other current major league pitcher with a streak of more than 20 starts without a loss is Jose Contreras, who’s on the Phillies’ 60-day disabled  list. He went 17-0 in 24 starts for the White Sox during a span over 2005 and 2006.

The Braves have won 19 consecutive starts by Medlen. The last team to win at least 19 consecutive starts by a pitcher was the 2001 Yankees, who won 20 starts in a row by Roger Clemens.

28 comments Add your comment


September 9th, 2012
3:21 pm

okay David Ross, laying it out there, like it!

No. 1 Braves Fan

September 9th, 2012
4:19 pm

Ross expressed his opinion as a player and maybe it is a popular one among players. Also, he is probably right in saying Strasburg, his teammates and manager want him to play. However, the important opinion and most knowledgeable came from the surgeon and probably other medical people. Their advise to the Nats management was of the danger
that is involved in him pitching more than 160 innings which could cost him his career.


September 9th, 2012
5:16 pm



September 9th, 2012
5:39 pm

Who gives a crap what a backup catcher has to say?

Quack Quack

September 9th, 2012
5:46 pm

Yeah, and what will “THEY” say when he blows our his arm in spring training?



September 9th, 2012
7:06 pm

No. 1 Braves Fan , But there is no proof that the 160 innings level prevents anything. It’s just a crapshoot number based on very little data.

Yogi Berra

September 9th, 2012
7:09 pm

Get a life Robby…Its Ross a human not a back up catcher speaking. A real man not like you.


September 9th, 2012
8:18 pm

Hey Robbie…who the he?? cares what you have got to say?

Ross is onet of the best back-up catchers in the MLb and could start for 10-15 teams.

Mark (another one)

September 9th, 2012
8:21 pm

It all shows that the Braves strategy with Medlen is the better approach. He’s at 110 innings and pitching strong. The lighter load early in the season protected his arm/career and allowed him to gain strength over the season.

Ross is right. No one in DC is happy.

Walter Matthau

September 9th, 2012
8:39 pm

Robby, in the parlance of the Big Lebowski, who the f@&$ are You, man? SouthGaBrave is correct, Ross could start for 85% of the teams in MLB, but he wants to Win, so he chooses to accept a supporting role with the Braves. In case you haven’t noticed, the Braves don’t rebuild every 3 years. They put a competitive team out there every year. Ross gives them enviable depth at a crucial position.

Ron B

September 9th, 2012
8:46 pm

The bigger question is why have Strasburg start the season in April if he’s on an innings limit. give him a fake “spring training” in triple A in May then call him up in June then he can pitch out the postseason if you make it that far. Then he gets the extra recovery time up front. If this is going to become common practice in MLB, which it seems it will, then teams need to hold their guys out at the beginning of the year, not shut them down early.


September 9th, 2012
9:19 pm

on another subject, would’nt it be sweet if braves could get david wright ?


September 9th, 2012
11:26 pm

Ross should be starting for our team. He gives us a better chance to win.


September 9th, 2012
11:48 pm

So what is the deal with this whole thing? I mean do they have medical information available to them stating that it would be more dangerous for Strasburg to pitch? Is there some sort of proof from a previous pitcher(s) that caused them harm after they pitched a full season after TJ? Is Strasburg saying he wants to be taken out due to being scared he would overwork himself to injury? Or is this just the Nats being overly cautious and not wanting to take any chances at all despite other TJ information out there? I don’t understand. I can see if there was real concern due to accurate information about how bad things can happen after a certain amount of games played. But if that is not the reasoning, I think they are at fault here. I would just make Strasburg keep the team up to date on the status of his arm and how he is feeling. Then if he starts to show any signs of trouble, take him out for the season. This isn’t like they are in the in the beginning of the season and taking him out wouldn’t have a crazy impact (I know, maybe they are in the position they are now due to Strasburg’s dominance this year. I am only saying to make a point). But they are definitely in the race for the World Series. I mean, the whole goal is to get to the WS and win. So why rest him now? Besides, I would love to see him pitch some more. I am a Braves fan and I would like the Braves to defeat them with Strasburg still in there. If we pull through this year, I really dread the comments of how we only defeated the Nats because Strasburg was gone. That we didn’t truly earn the win. I want us to win completely. And I believe we can. So why take him out?


September 10th, 2012
8:14 am

Reportedly the Nats GM consulted with multiple renowned orthopedic surgeons that perform TJ surgery before he made his decision. They probably know more than the average blogger. They did the same for Zimmerman last year and that worked out pretty well for them. This is the kind of tough decision the GM is paid to make. Whether the Nats win or lose there will be no way to ever say if it was the right decision.


September 10th, 2012
10:23 am

I am so sick of hearing all the talk about Medlen being shut down at the begining of the season (especally from the media) because that thought never entered Frank or Fruti’s mind. They were convinced they had enough starting pitching better than Kris so they thought he would be more useful in the pen. They only moved him to the rotation due to injuries to JJ and Beachy plus the dissapointment from Delgado and Teheran so please stop giving Fruti and Frank credit for being that intelligent or having that much concern about Medlen’s well being..


September 10th, 2012
10:31 am

So why didn’t the Nats limit Straus’s pitching at the beginning of the season, like put him on 5 days rest or pull him after 5-6 innings and save him for the crunch period and post season?

John Leonard

September 10th, 2012
10:33 am

Your so right Ralph.


September 10th, 2012
10:56 am

PS!! i meant to say: the nations only threw him out on the mound, when he first came up, to sell tickets!!!

Widespread panic

September 10th, 2012
11:23 am

The return of rookie phenom Andrelton Simmons and the stirrings of both McCann and Uggla bode well for the Braves September run. I’m not on the Freddi G. Bandwagon yet (i.e. Why do you have to save intelligent managing for September? Last time I checked the season is 6 months long), but it’s encouraging to see him managing with more urgency than we’re used to seeing. If we beat the Brewers (who’ve been on a roll) and the Nats in Atlanta this weekend, I might even consider changing my blog handle. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


September 10th, 2012
1:20 pm

Going into this season, the MOST innings Strasburg had pitched in his pro career, major league and minor league, was 68. An older pitcher who had a number of pro seasons throwing 180-200 innings and then having TJ surgery, could probably come back after the recovery period and toss 200 innings in his first season back, with little risk. With a young pitcher whose arm had never gone 200 innings before, yes, most doctors see a risk. The Nats are having a better season than they EVER expected, probably were hoping for 85 wins in 2012. If they expected this much success, they probably would have brought Strasburg back slowly, BUT then they might not have been this good! The Nats now see a number of years of having REALLY good teams, with Strasburg being an ace for many seasons in DC. Strasburg might THINK he is willing to take the risk, but if he blew out his arm and his career ended, what would he be saying? The decision is probably best for Strasburg and for the club, in the long run. Young guys live for NOW. Older, more experienced people think of the future, in sports and in other ways.


September 10th, 2012
1:24 pm

Seems like he should have started late as opposed to having to quit early. They signed Edwin, traded for Gio and had J Zimm, Detwiler and Lannan. I think this decision and the way it’s playing out is hard for Stras, his teammates and the fans.

I mean, are they really going to cut to video of Stras chillin’ in the owner’s box, healthy, while his team is on the field trying to win it all? And Ryan Zimmerman has played hurt all year, what does he think about being run out there everyday and not getting the pretty boy (or pretty ghoul) treatment?

J Zimm had a non contending year to recover, but the Nats came into this season ready to compete (even with injuries to Ryan and Morse) so, it just seems like they should have delayed his start a month.

Braves fans know, every postseason matters and you want the World Series. Even with our stacked rotation in the 90s, we only got one. Dan Marino probably thought he was going back to the Super Bowl as well.

I don’t necessarily think the inning limit idea was a bad idea, but I definitely think they messed up by not starting him late though. What team has ever put a healthy ace on the shelf for the post-season?


September 10th, 2012
2:50 pm

It will be very difficult for Simmons to hit like he was when he got hurt after such a long layoff. I’m pulling for him as he is one of my favorite players.


September 10th, 2012
3:16 pm

if you dont think management is smart then ask them


September 10th, 2012
7:00 pm

Good point ralph, & also to the count; mabey they should’ve held ’stras’ off for a month & half layoff & pitch simulated games on the sides from time to time then let him pitch a start or two before the playoffs, aahh, whata I know? Andrelton is full of energyn whether he hits or not, & I believe he’s gonna be ok, I’m feel’n he’ll be hitt’n.

Nats Fan

September 11th, 2012
7:29 am

The thing about the shutdown, that people are forgetting is Stras never pitched more than 120 innings in a season. He has not been effective in his last few outing.

Stras is not the Nats best pitcher. Game one starter is Gio Gonzolas.

And John Lannan pitches well against the braves.

Sports Spectrum - Articles

September 11th, 2012
9:25 am

[...] Braves catcher David Ross, who plays on the Nationals’ rival, told AJC.com that he believes the Nationals put Strasburg in a bad [...]


September 12th, 2012
12:34 pm

Stephen Strasburg should be pitching for the rest of the year and into the postseason. There is nothing wrong with him. Shutting him down because of a prior arm injury is ridicious. In the beginning of the season the Nationals were not expected to compete for the playoffs. The situation has clearly changed and its time to adjust the stragery for Strasburg. Mabye to give him a break they could have skipped a couple of starts late in the season and then start him up again about a week before the regular season so he will be well rested for the playoffs. This team might not compete again. If I was him I be demanding a trade now. Like Dwight Howard did in Orlando,

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