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Half Smokes Hero: Jim Riggleman

Each weekend Half Smokes Heroes will pay some respect to a group or individual flying under the radar who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during the week.

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Just like raising a child, there's no perfect way to develop a pitcher. In the aftermath of Stephen Strasburg's injury, everyone has thrown out their opinions on what the Nationals did and didn't do right in handling their once-in-a-lifetime talent.
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Though we may never know whether or not the Nationals did all they could to protect Strasburg's arm, one thing we can all agree the Nationals did right is pull Strasburg after he was clearly in pain last Saturday. Don't forget: Strasburg initially told Jim Riggleman he wanted to stay in the game after he hurt his arm.
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"After the initial feeling that he felt, by the time we got out there, he said, you know, 'I feel good. I don't even feel anything. Let me keep pitching,'" Riggleman said. "We just didn't choose to do that."
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Let's just be thankful Riggleman stuck to his guns. Tommy John surgery is bad news, but it's survivable. If Riggleman had given into his star pitcher and let him continue to throw, we could be looking at a much more dire situation at this moment, or whatever moment Strasburg or the Nationals realized there was much more going on than a fleeting moment of pain.
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You can say that any manager would have pulled Strasburg in that situation, and maybe you're right. But I get the feeling there are some managers who probably feel just the way Rob Dibble did on Monday and might have tried to use Strasburg's pain as an opportunity to test his toughness. For keeping the franchise's long-term goals in mind and not using his phenom to make a point about toughness, Jim Riggleman is this week's Half Smokes Hero.
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