Former Major League pitcher “Wild Thing” Mitch Williams joined the Junkies Thursday to let the guys know how he really feels about Stephen Strasburg being shut down early.
Williams was asked out of the gate for his thoughts on Major Leaguers Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera, who were both recently suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
“Speaking from personal experience, I myself have never been smart enough to beat a test. I don’t think there’s a baseball player alive who’s smart enough to beat a test. And there’s always someone out there dumb enough to think they can.”
And as for the one thing every former Major League pitcher has been bashing – the decision by Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo to shut down their ace Stephen Strasburg for the season in the heat of their first pennant race – well, Mitch doesn’t like that move too much either.
“I just think it’s absolutely absurd. And I would not want to be Mike Rizzo in September when the Nationals are fighting to win that division and get to postseason and then go to postseason, and have to tell the 24 other guys on that roster ‘and oh, by the way, we’re gonna take a perfectly healthy Stephen Strasburg and shut him down.’”
The Wild Thing didn’t stop there though. Without actually naming names, he called out Nats pitching coach Steve McCatty for not speaking up on behalf of his pitcher during the kill date talks. That of course, is referring to Rizzo shutting down Stras after predetermined specific amount of innings pitched, a number believed to be somewhere between 160 and 180 innings. Strasburg has thrown for 145 inning thus far in 2012.
“If you’re not smart enough or good enough as a pitching coach to be able to look up to the mound and know whether your guy is laboring or throwing free and easy, you shouldn’t be a pitching coach. It’s that simple.”
Williams, who once told the Junkies pre-Tommy John surgery that Strasburg would never have serious arm injuries because of his mechanics were flawless, has since waffled on that stance. He said he predicts Strasburg will eventually have another serious arm injury because he has not fixed his mechanics since recovering from arm surgery.
“When you’re young you can get away with things. You have more flexibility, you have more strength. When you get to that age 25, 26, bad mechanics are going to get exposed. And until Stephen – that inverted W that he throws with with his front side – until he corrects that and gets his front side pulling his backside through, he’s gonna have problems. I do believe at some point he’ll break down again.”
Wild Thing also added that if you break down and don’t change the things that caused you to break down, well then you’re not very smart.