x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Washington have not made best use of Stephen Strasburg

But when a pitcher throws 99mph and is as dominating as Strasburg, pitching coaches do not want to mess with his mechanics.

Stephen Strasburg has got limited appearances with the Washington Nationals after recovering from surgery.
Stephen Strasburg has got limited appearances with the Washington Nationals after recovering from surgery.

How is it that the team with baseball's best starting rotation is out on the trade market looking for another pitcher for the stretch run in the MLB? Because it's the Washington Nationals, and their ace is Stephen Strasburg.

In his first full season after "Tommy John" elbow reconstruction surgery, the Nationals vow Strasburg will not pitch more than about 160 innings, which means they will likely shut him down in early September.

So the first-place team in the National League East, gunning for Washington's first play-off run since 1933, could sit their best pitcher when it matters most.

The Nationals are trying to protect Strasburg, like they have since they drafted him No 1 overall in 2009 out of San Diego State and paid him a US$15 million (Dh55m) signing bonus. But he still needed elbow surgery in 2010, missing a year's time in recovery. Who's to say this plan will protect him for the long haul?

Biomechanics experts believe Strasburg's delivery could be as much to blame for his elbow problems as his workload. They believe his mechanics, which cause his arm to lag behind his body as he releases toward home plate, puts undue stress on his elbow.

But when a pitcher throws 99mph and is as dominating as Strasburg, pitching coaches do not want to mess with his mechanics and they have not with Strasburg. Maybe for those same reasons, the Nationals should let him pitch when his team needs him most.

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE