Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg said he might not participate in future All-Star Games as he believes last season’s elbow injury was due to a change in his routine while at the 2017 All-Star Game in Miami. Here’s what Strasburg said, via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post:
Might have to rethink about if I’m going to actually pitch or not pitch in an All-Star Game, whether I’ll actually go all together. That was the issue I felt like was the reason why I got hurt. I was on such a good program with the training staff and massage therapists — I was in this routine. Then all of a sudden you’re asked to throw, potentially pitch — maybe not — but not have any access or ability to really stick to your routine. Once that’s over, it’s like right back into it. Bullpen, day off, game. I just know that little lapse, for whatever reason, it pushed me back a bit. It started making my arm hurt.
My arm felt good before that, then it was like after [the All-Star Game], it just didn’t feel right. I’m glad at that point I kind of tried to put my pride aside and say, hey, I want to be there in the end. So we just had to get it right. No point in pushing through it. I’m glad it worked out that way.
It’s worth noting that the Nationals will host the 2018 All-Star Game.
Strasburg, 29, posted a 3.43 ERA in the first half. In his second start of the second half, he lasted only two innings and soon went on the disabled list for nearly a month with a nerve impingement in his right elbow. He returned in mid-August and compiled a 0.84 ERA across eight starts through the rest of the regular season.
In the past, some players have turned down invitations to participate in the Home Run Derby, citing various reasons like the event potentially messing up their swings or wanting to avoid risking injury. We usually don’t see it for the All-Star Game, but Strasburg may start a new trend.
The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.
It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.
Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).”
Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.
Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.