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Nationals GM explains Stephen Strasburg’s remarkable recovery


Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo just held a press conference explaining the whole Stephen Strasburg drama. Or, at the very least, trying to give it some sort of internal uniformity so people will stop saying that the Nationals are all over the place with this.

The high points from Rizzo:

  • Strasburg had fevers, chills, and acute sinusitis yesterday. He was on antibiotics and anti inflammatories, as well as an IV;
  • Strasburg’s antibiotics were switched last night;
  • Strasburg called pitching coach Mike Maddux this morning and said he felt better. When he came to the stadium he told Dusty Baker he wanted to pitch today and everyone agreed that he seemed better.
  • Teammates did not pressure Strasburg into starting, nor did the media coverage. Rizzo said “I don’t think Stephen Strasburg cares” what the media says.

Some may be skeptical about the antibiotic switch doing something in such a short time. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that. Old-timers at this site will remember this story, but I got super sick at the 2012 World Series and got some hella drugs that actually helped me out a lot in a really short period of time. If you’re getting weapons-grade antibiotics and not the “take for seven days” stuff most people get, it can make a difference.

So there we have it. If Strasburg goes out and pitches well, all of this will likely be forgotten. If he’s shelled, well, then I imagine some people will say he wasn’t mentally prepared to pitch because of all of the back and forth and some others might say that he was still too sick and probably shouldn’t have pitched. Many of these people will have said something contradictory to that stance no more than 24 hours earlier, of course, because that’s how that works.

No matter what happens, I presume that a more in depth story about all of this will come out some time this winter contradicting Rizzo to. Because that’s how all of that works too.

Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.

This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.