“I expected a lot more of myself,” Strasburg said. “By no means was I going out there thinking I wasn’t prepared for it. I did everything I could to be ready as far as hydrating and everything. I’ve just got to learn from it.”
Johnson received periodic updates from trainer Lee Kuntz as the game wore on and the Nationals, who were losing 3-2 when Strasburg exited, waged a comeback that they couldn’t quite complete. Chien-Ming Wang relieved Strasburg and gave up four runs in two innings of work.
“It’s obviously a great decision by Davey,” said shortstop Ian Desmond, a Florida native who remembered someone dying during baseball practice in high heat when he was younger.
Desmond said he altered his usual uniform by wearing a sleeveless undershirt and lighter socks, and the Nationals training staff was on the players all day to keep drinking and getting enough electrolytes.
“You preach to kids, ‘Hey, if you’re hot and you feel dizzy, come out of the game,’” Desmond added. “I was relieved they made the right decision and got Stras out and he didn’t give too much of a fight. It was a responsible decision. We all knew that he was going to try to get back out there. It’s the heat. We were all careful.”
The Nationals will likely have similar conditions to deal with on Sunday as they send Gio Gonzalez to the mound for a 1:35 p.m. start against Tim Hudson. Hudson, who dealt with dehydration issues after a 2011 start in Washington, has been preparing for the heat for several days. He told reporters Saturday afternoon that he planned to intravenously take two bags of saline solution before Sunday’s game to be ready.
For Strasburg, the Nationals didn’t appear concerned that he wouldn’t be able to bounce back in time for his final start before the All-Star break, which would come on Friday night.
“The doctors are obviously going to monitor him,” Johnson said. “He was really dehydrated. It’s serious, but it’s not something he can’t recover from.”