Dibble brings up three comparisons to show Strasburg what he should do; Himself, Chris Sabo, and Josh Willingham this year. Let's take it in reverse:
- Josh Willingham presumably got injured... let's just say the 1st of July for arguments sake. By playing through pain he managed to hit .256 with 2 homers possibly hurting the team with his continued presence. Now he's out for the year and hopefully will be ready for next season.
- The only mention I could find of Chris Sabo missing significant time due to injury was in 1992 (though I guess it could have been 1989). Sabo, who was a great player in 1991, would go on to be very average in injury shortened 1992, 1993, and 1994. He would be out of baseball in 1996, though presumably this was at least partially due to aging out (he was 29 when he was injured). Still, the lack of average and power immediately post injury is noticeable and I think his exit was a bit premature for someone that rocked in 1991.
- Dibble's steel plate injury took place in early 1993 (he didn't pitch from April 21st to May 30th). Prior to this injury he was one of the most dominating relief pitchers in baseball. In '93, Dibs would go on to have by far the worst season of his career (6.31 ERA after surgery). He would miss the entire next year with a new injury to his rotator cuff and he would be out of baseball after 1995 at the age of 31.
*I thought about this some more and here's the thing : Dibble is arguing that Strasburg should understand that pain is part of the game and that as long as he's not hurt he should go out there and pitch. The second part of that argument is exactly right and I don't think many people disagree with Rob on that. I was surprised that the comments I got yesterday basically fell in that line instead of the Boswellian "Put Strasburg in a bubble and start praying" philosophy. It's the first part of the argument that causes concern because how does a player know exactly what is a pain you can work through and what is pain that signifies a greater injury? It's only through trial and error that you find those things out - but "error" in the wrong direction could have catastrophic consequences. You don't want someone playing through a real injury and making it worse. You want them to be cautious. Especially pitchers. Especially young players. Super-duper especially young superstar pitchers.
If he finds out that there is no issue with his arm after that fancy arthrogram thing, then Strasburg knows that the pain he felt is something he might have to work through in the future. He learns. No harm done.