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Strasburg: Day 2

Feb 23, 2010, 6:47 PM EDT


VIERA, Fla. — Perhaps one of these days, a 10-minute bullpen session by Stephen Strasburg won't qualify as news in Nats camp. Right now, though, every time the rookie right-hander grabs the ball, people stop what they're doing to watch.

Just as was the case Sunday morning, all eyes were on Strasburg this morning when he threw his second bullpen of the spring. Coaches lined up behind the mounds and watched with great interest. So did several team officials, including Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson, who watched from a golf cart directly behind the catchers.

You'd think by now, there's little Strasburg could do to impress these hardened baseball men, who have probably witnessed, oh, 384,692 bullpen sessions in their careers. And yet this guy really is different,Read more ยป

  1. SpashCity - Feb 23, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    I like Pudge's take on Strasburg the most. Of course he looks good in bullpens, but we have to see him in games to really understand where he is compared to the other guys. All the opposing hitters are going to be geared up to face him, so he better be ready for mid-season-like battles with all-star players from day 1.

  2. jcj5y - Feb 23, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    I'm guessing the team isn't interested in sharing the details publicly, but I would feel comforted if I knew that they have a definite plan in terms of limiting Strasburg's innings this year. Are they concerned primarily about sheer number of pitches? Number of innings? High stress innings? Rest between starts? Do minor league innings count differently than major league ones?I would be a much happier fan if you told me now that they know exactly how they will handle him. That way, when they shut him down at some point down the road, I can tell myself that it was always part of their plan, and not the result of some secret health concern.

  3. An Briosca Mor - Feb 23, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    How about the home exhibition game against the Red Sox on April 3rd at Nationals Park? Any chance Strasburg will pitch there? He would not need to be on the Opening Day roster to do that.

  4. peric - Feb 23, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    You have to assume that he will get shut down after 100-102 max? C'mon. The guy didn't even get to 200 innings in his entire college career? The only one of his peers from last year's draft class was Holder. They would be nuts to do as Ladson seems to suggest: Put him in the starting rotation day 1 and rely on him to pitch every 3rd – 5th day. The Nats already have one of the worst records for games lost due to injuries, and 2nd worst for payroll lost due to injury. And then they go to arbitration and stick it to the player because he was injured … more than any other major league team. This guy is the only top rung pitcher they have right now … other perhaps than Storen. They need to take every precaution.

  5. Steven - Feb 23, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    you buried the lede on that one!

  6. greg - Feb 23, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    3rd-5th day?

  7. peric - Feb 23, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    3rd – 5th day … they make it sound like he has to carry the whole team or at least the pitching staff? Recipe for disaster methinks?

  8. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 23, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    jcj5y: The Nats most definitely have a plan in place for Strasburg as far as workload this year. Between college, the instructional league and the Fall League, he threw a total of about 130 innings last year. Generally, the club doesn't allow young guys to increase more than 30-40 innings from season-to-season. So I'd think we're looking at 160-170 innings (combined majors and minors) max out of Strasburg this year. And honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the team keeps it to less than that just to be cautious.

  9. jcj5y - Feb 23, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    Thanks, Mark. That is comforting. I'd like to see Strasburg get to 160 this season, because I expect that he's going to be asked to be closer to 200 in 2011. Now I'm just going to hope that 8-10 starts in the minors still leaves him 100-120 innings in DC.

  10. Anonymous - Feb 23, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    If SS comes up lame, I don't think it will be from overuse. Riggleman learned a valuable lesson with K. Wood in Chicago, one he won't soon forget. JT in SC

  11. greg - Feb 23, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    peric, you just make yourself sound foolish when you say things like that. it didn't sound like some sort of sarcasm saying they expect him to carry the whole team (at least i think that's what your clarification meant). it sounds like you don't understand rotations, cuz "3rd – 5th day" makes no sense in any baseball pitching context.

  12. peric - Feb 23, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    I'm being sarcastic … Bowden's recent prediction for the Nats rings true. Can't help but wonder what happens if a spate of injuries hits this pitching staff? Can Strasburg pitch 5 days in a row? Maybe he will be like Walter Johnson who apparently could almost pitch every other day? And still have a long career?

  13. Jim - Feb 23, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    ABN has the best idea: pitching the exhibition game at Nats Park. I would definitely go to that one!

  14. SonnyG10 - Feb 23, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed re Stephen Strasburg. He almost seems too good to be true. I worry that he either won't live up to expectations or he gets injured. I've been a Washington baseball fan since I was a little kid about 60 years ago and with the awful Washington Senators, I am used to rooting for a loser. I just can't imagine what it will be like to have a good baseball team, but I'm in hope.

  15. peric - Feb 23, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    One pitcher does not a good baseball team make. Does anyone here believe that Strasburg would equal or surpass a Walter Johnson? With only a couple of exceptions he was a great pitcher on losing teams. He's just one guy whose innings probably should be limited especially in the beginning.

  16. NatsNut - Feb 24, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    "In fact, Strasburg was all of three years old when Rodriguez made his big-league debut in 1991. So his opinion carries some weight."********This is just too funny.

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