As much as we like to believe a nice conspiracy theory - of either some random LA Times reporter or Dr. Yocum being big liars or that everything said was true until the Nats "got to him" and made him reverse his story - they are rarely true. The first two make no sense and the latter seems a little bit too far fetched. So what's the reality? I don't know. But here's a way you can fit in everything that was said.
Dr. Yocum talked to the Nationals medical staff about Strasburg's recovery. It wasn't about how long to pitch him, just about how he was looking, his arm movement & strength, what they saw in this pitch movement, etc. etc. Yocum gave his opinion (likely a lengthy version of "Yep, seems like he's recovering just fine") and that was all. Using that information, Rizzo decides to shut Strasburg down, just like they did ZNN who was recovering fine last year. When hearing about the shutdown, Yocum understands there is no clinical proof to do it this way, but can get behind the decision because the whole area of TJ recovery is still ill-defined.
You have a story that makes sense and almost nothing in the first story out and out contradicts anything in the clarification. Usually the simple answer is the case and here we have a simple answer.
So what is contradictory? Just one thing.
Report: "Yocum said he had not talked with Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo since last year."
Clarification: "I have been contacted repeatedly and have had numerous discussions with
the Nationals GM Mike Rizzo... as
recently as mid-August"
There is a possible explanation. Yocum could have been saying that he hadn't talked to Rizzo about the shutdown since last year, and miscommunication between the doctor and Shakin led to the insinuation that Rizzo and Yocum hadn't spoken at all. I guess that's possible. My feeling leans more toward him never really having discussions with Rizzo, and the inclusion of Rizzo in the clarification being one of those half-truths. Like if the Nats told him Rizzo was on a couple of the conference calls about Strasburg's recovery but was just not talking, or if in the passing of other information Rizzo mentioned to Yocum that the Nats medical staff told him that Yocum thought Strasburg was coming along ok and Yocum said "yeah, looks fine". Did Yocum talk to Rizzo about Strasburg's recovery? Yes. Is it in the way they insinuate? Not really. Does it matter? Not really.
Rizzo gathered all the info he wanted, from various doctors, medical personnel, and yes, perhaps from Scott Boras, and made the call. That's the truth. Nothing said from Yocum contradicts that. The question of how much influence Boras played in the decision is the most interesting and relevant part of this whole thing, but nothing said from Yocum gives us any insight into that.
Now back to baseball and a series that will either put away the Braves or will drag out the Nationals NL East coronation for a extra week.