Stephen Strasburg to have Tommy John surgery Friday

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Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced earlier this afternoon that Stephen Strasburg will undergo Tommy John surgery Friday in Los Angeles, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com.

Strasburg underwent a second MRI arthogram during a visit to Dr. Lewis Yocum on Monday, which confirmed last week’s diagnosis of a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

“It was very similar findings,” Rizzo said. “He gave him the physical tests
and was surprised that he could deal with all the physical testing. He
tested very well. Because of the physical tests, he gave him another
arthrogram and found the same thing. And his recommendation was he
needed surgery.”

The surgery will be performed by Yocum, with Nationals team doctor Wiemi Douoguih assisting. The pair also performed Jordan Zimmermann’s surgery last August.

And with that, Strasburg’s rookie season is officially over. The 22-year-old right-hander was 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA over 12 starts with the Nationals, compiling a 92/17 K/BB ratio over 68 innings.

Strasburg will begin physical therapy immediately, but isn’t expected to resume throwing again for four months. The general timeline for a return from Tommy John surgery is approximately 12-18 months, so he’ll likely miss the entire 2011 campaign.

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begins the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp now have a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they’ve only played five innings of baseball.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?