It came as something of a surprise when the Washington Nationals announced on October 26th that Stephen Strasburg had surgery to remove bone chips or "loose bodies" from his right elbow. Los Angeles Dodgers' team physician Neal ElAttrache reportedly performed the procedure. The initial report was that Strasburg would begin a throwing program 4-to-6 weeks after the surgery and be ready for Spring Training.
In an interview at the GM Meetings in the J.W. Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida, Strasburg's agent, Scott Boras, told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore on Thursday that the right-hander, "pitched with discomfort in his forearm, the result of small bone chips in his right elbow, for a 'good amount' of the 2013 season."
Strasburg spent time on the DL in 2013 with a lat strain and he missed two starts late in the season with what was described as "tightness" in his right forearm. There were no reports of the bone chips or loose bodies during the season, however.
"'He was dealing with some stress in the forearm and such from it,'" Boras told the WaPost reporter. "'Certainly, each performance, it was something he had to deal with for a few days after.'" Strasburg's agent described the second surgery on Strasburg's elbow in his four-year career as a "minor procedure" which he said should allow him to pitch without pain next season.
In an interview on MLB Network Radio on Friday, the right-hander's agent was asked about the report by former Nats' GM Jim Bowden, who wondered why Strasburg wasn't shut down if the team knew about the bone chips?
Jim Bowden: "Scott, Stephen Strasburg, you mentioned the other day, was pitching through pain most of the year with the elbow. Something that really wasn't public. But a lot of us watched him and wondered if there wasn't something there. Glad to hear that he's okay now and should be 100% next year. Any reason why, though, with his talent and his future and the investment in what could be a multiple Cy Young Award-winner some day, any reason why instead of pitching through pain he wasn't shut down and that issue corrected?
Scott Boras: "Well, you know, Stephen Strasburg is going to take the ball when he can and when he's medically told he can pitch, and certainly they were aware of the bone chip that was there. It was something he could pitch with, but he had to pitch in pain. But we also knew that at season's end we were going to be able to alleviate the problem. And certainly we think he's going to be a lot freer and certainly be able to pitch at Stephen Strasburg levels now that the bone chip has been removed."
In spite of the issues with his elbow, Strasburg put together a strong 2013 campaign in his first full innings limit-free season after recovering from Tommy John surgery in late 2010.
Strasburg finished his fourth major league season with an (8-9) record, a 3.00 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 56 walks (2.75 BB/9) and 191 Ks (93.9 K/9) in 30 starts and 183 IP over which he held opposing hitters to a .207/.281/.307 line and was worth +3.2 fWAR.
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