Stephen Strasburg Could Return Sooner Than Expected, But The Nationals Shouldn't Let Him

Stephen Strasburg

When Stephen Strasburg first injured his arm last summer, everyone assumed he’d miss the entire 2011 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

But Strasburg has already begun throwing, and now it looks like there’s a decent chance he could pitch in September.

Tommy John surgery requires a long rehab, but Strasburg’s ability to throw already indicates that he’s ahead of schedule.

If he’s looking good late in the season, it might be tempting for the Washington Nationals to bring him back for a few home starts to benefit from the ticket sales boost he’d bring and draw national attention to the franchise.  But they’d be foolish to do so.

Strasburg, called “Baseball Jesus” by some of his teammates, is Washington’s ticket to a better future.  The Nationals have no shot of competing this year, so Strasburg’s return would be strictly for financial gain.  While the idea of making a bunch of money on a few games at the end of the year and drumming up interest for 2012 seems like a tempting proposal, the Nationals would be risking way too much.

Even if Strasburg is cleared medically,  the Nationals will never be able to live it down if something goes wrong

As tough as it might be for the Nationals, and for Strasburg, Washington would be wise to slow him down a bit and make sure everyone is on the same page in understanding that Strasburg will be the opening day starter in 2012, and won’t pitch sooner.

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