Before the Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg in early September, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports brought up a unique contrast to how the Atlanta Braves have handled their own post-Tommy John pitcher in Kris Medlen. The Braves started Medlen in the bullpen this season before putting him in the rotation and as a result he is still with the team and will be for the postseason.
Medlen has pitched just 132.0 innings on the season and is still going strong as one of the hottest pitchers in baseball.
The scenarios are different in many ways with Strasburg being a former first overall pick and Medlen being selected in the 10th round, not to mention the financial considerations. The Nationals also have never wanted to have Strasburg be anything but a starting pitcher.
Rosenthal himself pointed out those differences and so did we when we had the story, but nonetheless Nats manager Davey Johnson is bothered it was ever even brought up. He, in fact, seems to disagree with how the Braves are handling Medlen in the first place.
This via Dan Steinberg of DCsportsbog, it comes from an excerpt of Sports Illustrated's new article on the Nationals skipper.
No! Its a crock of bleep what theyre doing with Medlen. It aint anywhere close to Strasburg. Theyre trying to act like geniuses. Heres the deal. And their whole life theyre raised to go through a certain process at certain times of the year. And ballplayers go through them in the spring. Now you take Doc Halladay or anybody, and if you start varying that dont let him pitch for a month? You dont know whats going to happen.
Now the Nats and Braves are of course still fighting for the division as the season comes to a close. It will be hard for Atlanta to catch the Nationals in the regular season, but they could very well meet in the playoffs. Boy, would that be fun.