Few Washington Nationals are looking forward to the 2013 season as much as Stephen Strasburg. When the right-hander arrives in Viera, Fla., in two weeks for spring training, he will be anticipating the first full season of his young career, all restrictions lifted.
Asked about his offseason in a telephone interview Monday night, Strasburg's response was telling: "It's been a month longer than everybody else. I'm [champing] at the bit."
Strasburg, 24, went through various stages of coping after he was shut down on Sept. 8 after 159 1/3 innings. He was angry and defiant at first, saying immediately after his final start, "I don't know if I'm ever going to accept it, to be honest." Nearly a month later, he was more subdued, admitting that time had helped him accept it, and even relenting that his late-season inconsistency was perhaps because of the innings increase from the previous year. Four months later, it still lingers — but less so.
"It's still kind of a sore spot, to be honest," he said Monday. "I wish it didn't end up the way it did. But I can't really worry about it anymore. The season's over, and I don't think anybody else on the team is playing the 'what if' scenario anymore. It's all about looking to the future and looking into this coming season and preparing for that."
Strasburg says he is already throwing bullpen sessions and feels great. His body is stronger and his right arm is well rested, more than 28 months removed from his Tommy John surgery. Golf and his recent charity event have kept him busy. And he has had time to reflect on his 2012 season, which the Nationals ended it in the heart of a pennant race out of concern for the long-term health of his surgically repaired elbow.
General Manager Mike Rizzo, the decision-maker on the shutdown, and Manager Davey Johnson watched Strasburg closely last year, particularly late in the season when the right-hander's performances were inconsistent.
Stephen Strasburg: Shutdown 'still kind of a sore spot'
Washington Post | Jan 31