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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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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. 

Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.

Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.

The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.

Only the Marlins have had as many.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."

"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand." 

The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.

RELATED: BRYCE HARPER THANKS NATIONALS' FANS FOR SUPPORT

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news. 

Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report. 

Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:

"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."

"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.

RELATED: HARPER THANKS FANS FOR SUPPORT