Stephen Strasburg just held a brief conference call with beat writers to update everyone on his rehab from Tommy John surgery. No major news to report here; he's basically right on schedule with things.
Strasburg continues to go through plenty of strength and conditioning workouts, with an emphasis on building up his shoulder so as not to overcompensate as he returns from the elbow injury. He's scheduled to be examined by orthopedist Lewis Yocum (who performed the surgery on September 3) shortly after Christmas. Assuming he gets the green light from Yocum, Strasburg hopes to begin throwing for the first time sometime in late January at his home in San Diego. He will then report to spring training in Viera, Fla., with all the other pitchers and catchers in mid-February.
Here are some of the highlights from Strasburg's conference call...
Q: How is the rehab going and do you know when you'll be able to start throwing?
"It's going great right now. I've been making big strides with just total body strength. I'm going to go see [Dr.] Yocum right after the Christmas holiday, and he should give me a better indication of when I'm allowed to start throwing. I'm a little out of three months from surgery. Everything feels great. I'm just waiting for them to tell me
when I can start throwing."
Q: What kind of exercises are you doing at this point?
"I've got a great program here. It's really targeting my lower body, my back, my core. And then when I go into physical therapy, [I have] all the shoulder work that guys who have rotator cuff surgery and labrum surgery have, plus all the elbow stuff. So I'm in here about 2-3 hours three times a week. It definitely was really hard starting out, but it's gotten a lot easier, that's for sure."
Q: What's the thinking behind doing shoulder work?
"They've found that a lot of cases early on when they were only targeting rehabbing and strengthening the elbow, that the shoulder was the next thing to go. It was often overlooked that the shoulder was getting just as much rest as the elbow through this, and it was getting weaker. We don't want that to happen, obviously, so we're strengthening up everything, so when I do get a chance to go, I'm going to be in top shape, honestly, probably a lot better shape than I ever was."
Q: Do you know when you'll report to Viera, and will you start throwing there or back home in San Diego?
"The plan right now is I'm going to start my initial throwing here with the physical therapist I've been working with all offseason. So I should hopefully, barring no setbacks, I should have a few weeks of throwing before I go out to spring training and meet up when pitchers and catchers report."
Q: How anxious are you to pick up a ball and start throwing again? It has to be frustrating not to be able to do that.
"Yeah, it is. My body feels great. They told me that going into the way the surgery went and how successful it was. Their job right now is to try to push me back and keep me at bay. It's hard. It's probably the longest time in my entire baseball career where I haven't been able to throw a baseball. I trust in what Dr. Yocum has says and what my physical therapist says and what [Nationals head trainer] Lee Kuntz says, because they've been through it before."
Q: It's still early in the process, but as far as you're concerned, you're right on schedule?
"They're not going to say that I'm ahead of schedule, because they don't want to get my hopes up. But physically, I feel great. They say I'm on track. I don't really know an exact timeline of what will happen yet. I'm just taking it week-by-week and trying to get stronger every single day."
Q: What do you think about the moves the Nationals have made this winter?
"It's great to see the organization active in the offseason. It's sad at the same time to see that some of the guys on the team last year aren't going to be there next year. We had a great squad, great camaraderie. It's going to be interesting. But at the same time, I'm excited to get out to spring training and get to know all these new guys."