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Stephen Strasburg surgeon clarifies role in pitcher’s shutdown

The doctor who performed elbow surgery on Stephen Strasburg said Thursday he has worked with the Washington Nationals on the rehabilitation strategy that led the team to shut down the pitcher last week.

Dr. Lewis Yocum had told the Los Angeles Times that he “wasn’t asked” by the Nationals about whether to shut down Strasburg and had not discussed the subject with General Manager Mike Rizzo since last year.

On Thursday, Yocum clarified his comments by saying he and the Nationals -- as well as Strasburg and his agent, Scott Boras -- had agreed last year that the team would limit Strasburg’s innings this season. Over the course of this year, Yocum said, he has spoken with Rizzo and the Nationals’ medical staff but has left to the team the decisions about how and when to shut down Strasburg.

Yocum and Rizzo spoke on Aug. 13, as Strasburg approached his innings limit. The Nationals ended Strasburg’s season after his Sept. 7 start.

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Yocum said he stands behind the Nationals’ decision to shut down Strasburg.

Rizzo declined to comment.

Yocum also issued the following statement:

“I would like to correct the misimpression generated from today’s L.A. Times article, that I have not been a participant in discussions with the Washington Nationals regarding the recovery strategy for pitcher Stephen Strasburg.  In fact, I have been contacted repeatedly and have had numerous discussions with the Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and the team’s medical personnel, as recently as mid-August.  While the final decision was up to the team, as is standard practice, I was supportive of their decision and am comfortable that my medical advice was responsibly considered.”

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