Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Stephen Strasburg--Trying To Be As Patient As Possible
For the first time since his September 3rd Tommy John Surgery conducted by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles, Stephen Strasburg spoke to the media this afternoon, via phone conference call, for about 10 minutes from South California. Here is the transcript from that conversation. We joined in as Strasburg was beginning to answer his first question.
Strasburg: I have been watching the team very closely. Everybody seems to be playing hard and it’s awesome to watch. At the same time, it is pretty hard to watch. I wish I was out there with everybody, but it is what it is.
Question: You made the transition pretty quickly from finding out you needed the surgery, accepting it and moving on to the next challenge. When the surgery did happen, was it still a tough thing to handle after you had the procedure?
Strasburg: I think the hardest part was that period of being back here and waiting for the surgery to happen. Once it was over with, it was definitely a sense of relief. I knew that everything was fixed and every single day it’s getting closer to getting back out there.
Question: Are you at the point now where you are looking forward to getting back to the physical part of the rehab? And making steps where you see progress every day?
Strasburg: Yeah. What they are telling me (The Doctors). 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, I am eating healthy. I am trying to do some sort of workout every single day--whether it’s core, or just going on the elliptical. So I am doing everything in my power to get stronger while this thing heals.
Question: Have you talked with other guys about the surgery and what sort of things have you heard in words of encouragement?
Strasburg: Yes, I have talked to a few guys. A few guys have reached out and I am very grateful for it. With the track record of the surgery, you have just got to be patient with it. You have got to let it take it’s course. As long as you don’t rush things, the success rate is through the roof. I am going to be patient through it. I am going to do what the Nationals trainers and doctors tell me to do. And I am going to follow it by the book. Hopefully, everything works out for the best.
Question: Can you tell us who some of the guys that reached out to your are?
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. Then just a few of my buddies back here (in California) who have had the surgery, a few of my coaches. They have had the surgery during their playing careers. I have talked to Jordan Zimmermann a little bit too. It’s a very common surgery and, like I said, the success rate is really, really good. So I am just going to follow everybody else’s path.
Question: Who are the main doctor or rehab specialists you are working with?
Strasburg: I am just working with the people The Nationals have set up for me. I am talking to Nationals trainers and just going from there.
Question: I know you looked into the surgery and done a lot of research on the process. But is there anything in these past few weeks that has surprised you about it?
Strasburg: No, not really. The fact that so many people have had this surgery, it’s almost down to a science. They’ve told me everything I am going to experience, coming up right after surgery. When I get my caste off, the whole nine-yards. I haven’t been surprised by anything. It’s healing very nicely. Everybody says Dr. (Lewis) Yocum did such a nice job because the scar is so thin. So I am pretty excited about it and I am just going to do whatever they tell me to do.
Question: Has how the season ended for you overshadowed your season?
Strasburg: You guys can decide that. I am chalking it up as a great season. It’s unfortunate for it to happen. But I came up there. I stirred up the baseball world well enough to have more people to become Nats Fans. And I know they are going to be there when I get back in a year, so I am not too worried about it. And I am 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.
Question: What do you miss the most being away from Nationals Park and your teammates?
Strasburg: I miss my teammates, obviously. Playing in the Big Leagues it’s a learning experience, but at the same time, there is time when you are sitting back at home just letting your body recover, catching up on your studies, it’s a little bit slower of a pace. I am having baseball withdrawal, that’s for sure. But I’ve got a great support system and they are really helping me through it.
Question: Do you happen to see the game last night (Phillies clinching of the N.L. East Title at Nationals Park)? And what did it feel like, if you did see the game, seeing The Phillies celebrating on your home field?
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 very well. But we could very well be doing that to them on their home turf--so it would be nice to have some payback.
Question: You said catching up on your studies. Are you talking about baseball or are you taking courses at San Diego State?
Strasburg: I am definitely working closer to getting my degree. It’s not too far away. I definitely want to get it and getting back to that whole student life--as well as rehab.
Question: You seem to enjoy being around your teammates and the camaraderie. Does that make this rehab difficult for you because you are sort of doing this solo?
Strasburg: I get what you are saying. It is a tough process, but I keep telling myself that as each day goes by I am going to be closer to being out there, battling, and trying to win some games. So patience is a virtue and I am trying to be as patient as possible through this process.
Question: Is the rehab process so detailed that you know what you are going to be doing three weeks from now? A month from now? Or is there fluidity there? How detailed is the plan?
Strasburg: They have it all mapped out, all the way up to when you throw your first professional pitch. So it’s kind of just going on what they tell me. If I do well, everything could get sped up, but I might take a couple of steps back--you just never know. There is a target date, but right now it is way too early. We are going to start the actual rehab process soon and see where that goes.
Question: Do you literally have that date marked on the calendar (throw the first pitch)?
Strasburg: Definitely not, that is a year from now. A lot of things can happen, but I am just going to take it day by day.
With that final answer--Stephen Strasburg’s Phoner Press Conference with the media concluded.
Photo Credit--Getty Images