Stephen Strasburg Shutdown: Mike Rizzo Addresses Whether Debate Became 'Distraction' For Nationals

The debate over the shutdown of Stephen Strasburg has raged all season, picking up in intensity since the All-Star break. But Strasburg's season came to an end last night, with an unremarkable home start that lasted just three innings.

After the game, Davey Johnson said he thought the shutdown debate had worn down Strasburg mentally and was a distraction on the hill last night.

Johnson had also indicated that the discussion over the shutdown had become a distraction for the team, a notion that GM Mike Rizzo dismissed on Saturday (via Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball):

The GM hadn't yet spoken to Strasburg though he said Davey Johnson had extensive conversations with the 24-year-old pitcher. Though the Nats' skipper said he thought it had become a distraction for the team, Rizzo did not. "I don't think it became distraction whatsoever," Rizzo said, "This team is battle-tested. They're a terrific major league ballclub with great makeup and guys that know how to prepare for the games and you could tell by the product on the field that this had no lingering effect whatsoever."

Rizzo addressed the media with several candid comments on Saturday, defending the organization's decision to end their ace's season. While they seem to disagree about the distraction issue, Rizzo and Johnson are certainly on the same page about the shutdown and are comfortable with their decision.

For more on the Nationals, head over to Federal Baseball and continue to check out SB Nation DC for the latest news and updates.

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