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"He was white as a sheet"

Jul 1, 2012, 1:33 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg was pulled in the fourth inning with "heat-related issues."

ATLANTA — The official temperature at Turner Field when Stephen Strasburg took the mound Saturday afternoon was 104 degrees. One hour earlier, as Strasburg was getting ready to warm up for his start against the Braves, that number actually sat at 106 degrees, officially the hottest reading ever recorded in the city's history. The Clean Air Campaign classified this as a "Code Purple" day, which means the air quality reached "very unhealthy" levels.

Strasburg thought he had prepared for this. He'd known since making his last start Monday in Colorado — where the gametime temperature was a record 100 degrees — what awaited him in Atlanta, and according to teammates had been taking precautions for several days in anticipation of this outing.

But as the Nationals right-hander very slowly walked off the field in the middle of the fourth inning, his shoulders slumped, his uniform sopping wet, it was obvious to Davey Johnson what needed to be done.

"When he came back in, he was white as a sheet," the manager said.Read more ยป

  1. Steady Eddie - Jul 1, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    Even if you view this from an entirely calculating business perspective, it's nuts to risk the players as extremely valuable assets, not to mention potential liability risks from the weather. Not really much different than trying to play a foot ball game in a blizzard. Can't believe thee isn't some "health pf the players" clause in the TV contract that wouldn't let them delay tomorrow's game until 6 pm or so.

  2. Doc - Jul 1, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Given Stephen's elevated BP, it obviously (and his physicians would, I'm sure, already know), he may be mildly hypertensive which is exacerbated by heat.Fortunately he has learned, what all ball players and their trainers know, to hydrate.Rare condition for someone so young and in such great physical shape, but it can happen.

  3. SonnyG10 - Jul 1, 2012 at 3:36 AM

    I had a heat stroke playing baseball in extreme heat when I was young. It was a long time after that before I could take the heat again. I hope Stephen didn't get to that point.

  4. peric - Jul 1, 2012 at 5:01 AM

    Maybe it is propitious that Strasburg has the innings limit and imminent shutdown in a month or so. As for Wang, he is Davey's mistake plain and simple. He isn't ready to pitch in the major leagues … and there's no telling if he ever will be.

  5. Drew - Jul 1, 2012 at 5:11 AM

    Hope Strasburg's OK. Playing that game at 4 p.m. Is daft.In other news, the shortstop shift in the Nats' minor league system is intriguing.Two weeks ago the Nats released Chris McConnell, the Harrisburg shortstop, and promoted Zach Walters, who is raking at a .340 clip in his first 10 games.Jason Martinson, who was promoted to Potomac — which already had Rick Hague — is splitting time at short and third.Martinson is mashing. He has 11 RBIs in 10 games. His problem is defense. He already has four errors in those 10 contests.

  6. D'Gourds - Jul 1, 2012 at 7:52 AM

    I wonder if Wang would agree to a stint in AAA. He seems to appreciate the loyalty the Nats have shown him and he could get more pt there. We could promote Lannan as our long reliever then who is pitching well now.

  7. NatsLady - Jul 1, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    D'Gourds, he might. But would he pass through waivers–probably not. Some non-contending team would grab him and find a roster spot for him. As for Lannan, he would be in the bullpen if he'd agreed to it long ago. Maybe those months in Syracuse have changed his thinking.

  8. natsfan1a - Jul 1, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    They did the right thing by taking him out.

  9. baseballswami - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Apparently they can't assign Wang to aaa contractually but he can agree to go. He should..

  10. NatsLady - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Wang threw some good pitches in the second inning of work, just not enough. Then got pulled for a pinch hitter. Clearly he needs to work 4-5 innings in a stint, and that's unlikely to happen out of the bullpen.The one and only time I blacked out in my life was when the tennis instructor made us run a mile in the blazing heat then then play. I was twenty and in excellent shape. I dropped the class immediately and can't even remember how I met the PE requirement in college. You don't fool around with heat stroke.

  11. JaneB - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    If they can postpone games because of cold or rain or snow, why not for heat?I worry for all if them. Even the umps.

  12. MicheleS - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    I am really glad that Davey pulled him. Just insane that they were playing in that heat. I hope the Players Association gets involved and sticks it to Fox on that 1 or 4 pm start in the dead of summer.The good news for the next few saturdays we have the 7 pm games (except that 1 pm make up on 7/21). There are a few weekday games that are either at 12 or 1. Can't do much about Sunday day games.

  13. NatsLady - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Should start the game w/ a scrub pitcher and have a three-hour "heat-delay." Fox can't do anything about that.

  14. MicheleS - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    NatsLady..Like where you are going with that!!!

  15. 164abb6e-9075-11e1-aba1-000bcdcb471e - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    JaneB: You said "even the umps."I would say "especially" the umps who, unlike the players, don't get to sit down every half inning. I've umpired a lot of baseball, and I can tell you it can be brutal, especially if you are behind the plate. There is no letup, no shade, no opportunity to rest. And these guys are older than the players and, one senses, not always in the greatest shape. It is remarkable that there aren't more problems.

  16. Gonat - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    You know in Dibble's warped mind he is smiling right now.

  17. Gonat - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    baseballswami said… Apparently they can't assign Wang to aaa contractually but he can agree to go. He should.. July 01, 2012 7:14 AM ___________________________________I don't think it works that way. I believe he would have to pass through waivers before they assign him and he would have to agree to it.Neither of those are likely.Once Wang went on rehab he had 30 days to be brought up. He was brought up much quicker than that. Whatever Wang needs isn't going to help this team.4 runs over 2 innings yesterday was the reason the Nats lost not the 3 runs by Strasburg leaving in a 3-2 deficit.

  18. JayB - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Wang is a huge mistake…DFA him….nobody is going to pick him up…..and if so…no big lose other than to Rizzo Ego and as we all know that is a BIG PROBLEM for this team

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    JayB, yes, it was a very costly 3 year gamble that will not end well. Like I said, you need 7 relievers that are better than any replacement player.Is there anyone in AAA better right now on the 40 man? If not, Wang stays until Storen is ready.

  20. Gonat - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    NatsLady said… Wang threw some good pitches in the second inning of work, just not enough. Then got pulled for a pinch hitter. Clearly he needs to work 4-5 innings in a stint, and that's unlikely to happen out of the bullpen.=============================Clearly if he works 4-5 innings his record still doesn't look great. His problem is that 1st inning and his last inning of work. The in-between has been fine and unfortunately all innings count. There are a lot of out of work pitchers with that same problem.Here is Wang's last 30 days w/ ERA, IP, ERs05/30/2012 @MIA 6.43 4.0 4 06/07/2012 NYM 5.11 5.1 2 06/12/2012 @TOR 4.67 5.0 2 06/19/2012 TB 6.10 3.1 5 06/27/2012 @COL 6.65 1.0 2 06/30/2012 @ATL 7.61 2.0 4

  21. alexva - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    the only damage in the Wang experiment has been to the Lerner bank account, up to now that is. as the dog days near it will be important that all players on the roster have something to contribute. if he's released right after the break, no harm no foul.

  22. JamesFan - Jul 1, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    In this kind of heat, you have to slow the game way down. Stras, who probably never saw this kind of heat anywhere near San Diego, couldn't adjust. Great decision to take him out.

  23. MicheleS - Jul 1, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Alexva.. well said. It was the lerner money (which we all spend freely here) that was lost, nothing else!

  24. fast eddie - Jul 1, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Everything being written here assumes Wang is gone already. Did I miss an announcement?Davey can be stubborn re: "his guys" (i.e., Espinosa). I wouldn't be surprised to see Wang get another chance or two.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Alexva/MicheleS, sure, money lost, egos bruized, but when losses are accumulated based on retaining a mistake, that's where it goes from a financial mistake to a larger issue.The goal is to not perpetuate mistakes. Know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

  26. Knoxville Nat - Jul 1, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Peric lays the responsibility for Wang's problems at the feet of Davey Johnson saying "…he is Davey's mistake plain and simple…" On the other hand our old friend JayB surfaces to say that "…Wang is a huge mistake…..no big lose (sic) other than to Rizzo Ego…" I think this is a situation that calls for shared responsibility and accountability. Both Rizzo and Johnson chose to keep Wang over Lannan, a questionable choice in my opinion but worse, the way they handled his assignment to Syracuse ("John's my guy"),telling him in the dugout and in the middle of a game was both disrespectful and unprofessional.I agree that the Wang experiment has to end and the sooner the better, probably over the all star break. But lets remember that both Rizzo and Johnson should be held accountable for this mistake.

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