TORONTO — Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty and right-hander Stephen Strasburg were shown on the Toronto Blue Jays’ broadcast after the sixth inning Wednesday afternoon having a conversation. It did not look to be a pleasurable one.
As McCatty tried to explain to the Nationals’ ace that he would not be going back out to start the seventh, all Strasburg could do was stare straight ahead and offer a few “Yeah” responses.
Strasburg was trimming his nail before the sixth inning when, as manager Davey Johnson put it, “he cut his finger right in the middle of where the nail is.” The cut was affecting one particular pitch, Johnson said, so Strasburg offered not to throw that pitch any longer. “No,” Johnson told him. “You won’t throw any more pitches. We’ve got a long way to go. You pitched a heck of a ballgame. We’ll save it for you.”
In order to prevent that nail cut from getting any deeper and possibly affecting his next start, Johnson decided to go to his bullpen. Strasburg was obviously not pleased with the decision.
“He wanted to go out,” Johnson said. “Shoot, all of us wanted him to go out. He was fighting tooth and nail not to come out of that ballgame. And it’s kind of hard to take him out when I want him to continue. But it was all for the best.”
“It was nothing major,” Strasburg said. “I don’t think it affected the way the ball was coming out. I wanted to go out there again. I was trying to fight for it and they were pretty committed on getting me out of there. It is what it is. It’s a long season, got to roll with it. Go out there and pitch well next time.”
The Nationals do not believe the cut will hinder Strasburg’s ability to make his next start which, due to two offdays in the next five days for the Nationals, isn’t scheduled until Wednesday anyway. Strasburg will also get an extra day for the nail to heal up before he throws his bullpen session given that one of the offdays is on Thursday and other is on Monday.