Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo joined ‘Holden & Danny’ Wednesday after his team matched a franchise record with six home runs in an impressive 11 – 5 defeat of the Chicago Cubs the night before.
As has been the case for most of the season, the teams’ success has fallen behind the impending shutdown of pitcher Stephen Strasburg in the headlines.
Along with manager Davey Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty, Rizzo sat down with Strasburg on Monday to inform him that his Sept. 12 outing against the New York Mets would be his last of the season. The young fireballer, who underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in 2010, was less than pleased by their decision.
“He’s not happy with the decision, he thinks he can continue to contribute to the ball club,” Rizzo said. “He expressed his opposition to it and we just tried to explain to him what our thinking was and give him our rational.”
Though Strasburg won’t be in the rotation as the Nationals prepare for their playoff run, Rizzo thinks he still has a role on the team.
“At the end of the day I think he’s accepting of our decision, he disagrees with it (but) he’s going to be a terrific teammate going down the stretch,” said Rizzo. “He’s going to be involved in everything we do. He’s going to have to contribute in other ways than pitching on the mound.”
The general manager expressed some frustration after a listener questioned why the team informed the public when Strasburg will be shutdown.
“It boggles my mind that this team is 31 games over .500, we’re ahead of the Atlanta Braves eight games in the loss column, and we’re one of the best teams, most exciting teams, the youngest team in all of Major League Baseball and we’ve heard two story lines all year,” he said. “It’s about Stephen Strasburg shutdown innings and Bryce Harper. This is a team that’s 27, 28 men deep. They play terrific baseball and they all deserve better than that.”