Stephen Strasburg's arm likely will be shut down in the middle of September as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. WaPo reporter Adam Kilgore today posed the question of whether Strasburg could be used as a pinch hitter, as he's shown prowess at the plate. Manager Davey Johnson quickly shot down this notion, citing injury risk.
I do not have the injury-per-at-bat data readily available, but this approach is insanely conservative. There were 185,254 plate appearances last year and perhaps only a handful of batting injuries. Maybe I could sell Davey some UFO attack insurance while we're at it.
Why does it matter whether Strasburg is pitching in the same game in which he appears at the plate? If batting is indeed so dangerous, why don't the Nats just concede his two at-bats per start and have the lead-off guy bat out of turn in place of Strasburg?
Managers have to balance both winning and saving their jobs. Davey won't marginally improve his chances of winning because he's afraid of having to answer for injuring Our Generation's Greatest Pitching Prospect, in — *gasp* — a game he wasn't pitching in.
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