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Jack Morris criticizes Strasburg shutdown

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Jack Morris criticizes Strasburg shutdown

Former Twins pitcher and 1991 World Series hero Jack Morris pitched 18 seasons in the majors and worked at least 170 innings in 14 of those years. He knows something about longevity and durability for pitchers.

So on Tuesday he was asked about pitchers Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia, how they can be dominant on short rest in the playoffs. Morris answered the question and in doing so looped in Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.

“I think everybody in the Washington Nationals’ front office should pay attention that guys should go deep into games … when I see CC complete a game two days after Justin did, and I see guys doing it, it reminds me that there’s still hope because — I can say this, Phyllis, and you can’t tell me I can’t say this  I believe the pitch count is overrated. I think the whole thing will come to fruition, the cycle, the experiment, and they will see that there is value in starting pitching to go deep in the games, to help save the bullpen.”

Verlander and Sabathia are great examples of pitchers handling big workloads in the major leagues, but both are very different cases than Stephen Strasburg. Verlander is 29, Sabathia is 32 and neither have undergone Tommy John surgery.

The Nationals and Mike Rizzo are taking the innings limit precaution with pitchers like Verlander and Sabathia in mind. They hope that Strasburg can recover fully from the surgery and someday be as durable as the two aces.

Morris may have a point on pitch counts in general, but it is hard to compare Strasburg and his injury case to the examples he presented. Strasburg, in fact, is hard to compare to anybody directly. It is almost unprecedented in the history of baseball and that’s exactly why it is such a big deal and such a hot debate.

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Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well, but he won't specify why

Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well, but he won't specify why

Bryce Harper struggled by his standards in 2016 and he says he know why it happened last year. While it was rumored last season that he was playing through injuries, Harper never really missed significant time, nor did he really say that his injuries were the reason for his disappointing numbers. 

Speaking with the media today at spring training, Harper hinted at his injuries from last season as he said he was just trying to stay in the lineup every day.  

Although Harper's statistics dropped off dramatically from his MVP season in 2015, his numbers weren't entirely awful last year. He still hit 24 homers, drove in 86 runs and he had an .814 OPS. 

With a full offseason to heal up, Harper will be a prime bounce-back candidate as he looks to help the Nationals win their third NL East title in the last four years. 

Related: Sorry D.C. sports fans, Bryce Harper is a Dallas Cowboys fan

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Nationals' Max Scherzer says he may not be ready for season opener

Nationals' Max Scherzer says he may not be ready for season opener

The Nationals aren't certain to have ace Max Scherzer ready to pitch for Opening Day. Scherzer, 32, was unable to compete in the World Baseball Classic this summer due to a stress fracture in his right ring finger. 

When he spoke to the media today at the first bullpen session of spring training, he said that the fracture has healed but the symptoms continue. 

Scherzer also said he'd just started throwing again this week. Manager Dusty Baker confimed that the Nationals don't know whether Scherzer will be ready to start the season. 

Any time a team's star pitcher suffers an unusual hand injury, it's cause for concern for the club and fans. 

Scherzer won the NL Cy Young Award last season and posted a 20-7 record as a starter. He also led the MLB with 284 strikeouts. 

Scherzer is an especially vital part of the Nationals rotation considering the injury history of Stephen Strasburg, who landed on the DL twice last season, once with soreness in the elbow that needed Tommy John surgery in 2010. 

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