The Washington Nationals made their '09 No.1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg available to the D.C. press corps this afternoon for a telephone interview to update everyone on the progress in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Here's the full transcript:
Q: What have you been doing the last few weeks in terms of rehab?
Stephen Strasburg: "Not much. I got my cast off about two weeks ago, and I've just been getting my range of motion back. It's going really well, feels real good and I should be starting the actual rehab process shortly."
Q: How much have you kept up with the Nats?
Stephen Strasburg: "I've been watching the team very closely, everybody seems to be playing hard and it's awesome to watch, at the same time it's pretty hard to watch because I wish I was out there with everybody, but it is what it is."
Q: How quickly did you move from dealing with/accepting injury to moving on to recovery?
Stephen Strasburg: "I think the hardest part was that little period of being back here and waiting for the surgery to happen. Once it was over with, it was definitely a sense of relief, and I knew that everything was fixed, and every single day was just getting closer to getting back out there."
Q: Are you at the point of getting back to the physical part of the rehab?
Stephen Strasburg: "What they're telling me is that the more boring it is the better. The first few months it's all about letting the new ligament heal and just naturally recover. But at the same time, eating healthy, trying to do some sort of workout every day, whether it's core, or just going on the elliptical, so I'm doing everything in my power to just get stronger while this thing heals."
Q: Have you talked to other players who've had Tommy John surgery?
Stephen Strasburg: "I've talked to a few guys, a few guys have reached out. I'm very grateful for it. With the track record for this surgery, you just have to be got to be patient with it, you've just to let it take it's course. As long as you don't rush things, the success rate is through the roof."
Q: Is it possible to know who some of the guys you've talked to are?
Stephen Strasburg: "When I first found out the news I was able to talk to Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols because the Cardinals were in town, and you know, just a few of my buddies back here had the surgery, a few of my coaches had the surgery in their playing careers, talking to Jordan Zimmermann a little bit too. So it's a very common surgery and like I said, the success rate is really good, so I'm just going to follow everybody else's path?
Q: Who's the main doctor you're working with?
Stephen Strasburg: "I'm just working with the people that the Nationals set up for me, talking to the Nationals' trainers and everything and going from there."
Q: Has anything about the rehab surprised you?
Stephen Strasburg: "No, not really, I mean the fact that so many people have had this surgery it's almost down to a science. They've told me everything that I'm going to experience coming up right out of surgery, right when I get my cast off, the whole nine yards. I mean, I haven't been surprised by anything, it's healing very nicely. Everyone says Dr. Yocum did such a nice job because the scar is so thin, so I'm pretty excited about it and I'm just going to do whatever they tell me to do."
Q: Does the way that the season ended overshadow what you were able to accomplish this year, or is there something you can look to as a positive?
Stephen Strasburg: "You guys can decide that, I'm chalking it up as a great season, it's unfortunate for this to happen, but I went up there, I stirred up the baseball world well enough that it had more people becoming Nats fans and I know they're going to be there when I come back in a year, so I'm not too worried about it and I'm going to work as hard as I possibly can to get back out there and show everybody what I have to bring to the table."
Q: What do you miss the most being away from Nationals Park and the team?
Stephen Strasburg: "I miss my teammates, obviously, playing in the big leagues is a whirlwind experience, but at the same time, when you're sitting back at home just letting your body recover, and catching up on your studies, it's a little bit slower pace. I am having some baseball withdrawal that's for sure, but I've a great support system and they're really helping me through it."
Q: Did you watch the Phillies win the Division in Nats Park?
Stephen Strasburg: "It didn't look too good, that's for sure. It happens unfortunately, we weren't able to get the win last night, [Roy] Halladay pitched really well, but we could very well be doing that the next few years on their home turf, so it would be nice to have the payback."
Q: Taking classes? Or studying baseball?
Stephen Strasburg: "I'm definitely working at getting closer to my degree, not too far away, but I definitely want to get it, and I'm just getting back to that whole student life as well as rehab."
Q: Is the solo nature of the rehab working for you?
Stephen Strasburg: "It is a tough process, but I keep telling myself that as each day goes by I'm going to be closer to being out there with them and out there battling trying to win some games. So, patience is a virtue and I'm trying to be as patient as possible through this process."
Q: How detailed is the process, do you have target dates?
Stephen Strasburg: "They have it all mapped out all the way out to when you throw your first professional pitch again. So, it's just kind of going on what they're telling me. I could, if I'm doing well everything could be sped up, I might have to take a couple steps back, you never know. There is a target date, but right now it's way too early, we're going to hopefully start the actual rehab process soon and see how that goes."
Q: Do you have an actual date marked on a calendar?
Stephen Strasburg: "Definitely not. It's a year from now, I mean, a lot of things can happen, so I'm just going to take it day by day."