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See you in June, Stephen

Mar 20, 2010, 3:17 AM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Straburg impressed in three starts, but he probably won't make a fourth.

VIERA, Fla. — If this was the end of Stephen Strasburg's spring training cameo … well, bravo, kid. Job well done.

Sure, you could look at the two solo homers he served up in the top of the first inning against the Cardinals — a blast to left-center by Tyler Greene on the game's first pitch and an opposite-field poke by Allen Craig two batters later — and be worried that the guy's fastball can travel a long way when struck by a big-league hitter. But those were two minor blemishes in an otherwise impressive performance.

Strasburg faced 14 batters after giving up those two homers. He retired 11 of them and would have retired 12 had Ian Desmond not booted a first-inning grounder. He struck out seven of 11 Cardinals batters at one point. And while his pitch count of 73 was high for only four innings, it wasn't because he couldn't find the strike zone. On the contrary, he threw 53 of those pitches for strikes. St. Louis' batters just fouled a bunch of them off, especially Jason LaRue, who fouled seven straight in the fourth before finally striking out on a 92 mph sinker.

By the end of his four innings, Strasburg had put together his best overall outing of the spring, even though he was scored upon for the first time. Eight strikeouts. No walks. Some perfectly executed offspeed pitches, both slider/curves and change-ups.

Perhaps because he had the chance to go through a lineup twice for the first time, or perhaps because he was working with Ivan Rodriguez for the first time, Strasburg showed off his entire arsenal and established the many different ways he can retire an opposingRead more »

  1. Nats fan in NJ - Mar 20, 2010 at 3:36 AM

    Sigh, I've been fighting the Strasburg fever ever since the Nats signed him last summer. It's so hard, though, to keep from drooling about getting him live in Nationals Park this summer. Honest, I'm not thinking about his HOF bust yet. Really, I'm not!!

  2. Andrew - Mar 20, 2010 at 3:42 AM

    "It says that my ball is moving enough to force weak contact," Strasburg said. IMPRESSIVE!

  3. Doc - Mar 20, 2010 at 3:54 AM

    In time, it will be SS's brain that impresses us as much as his arm–its like he's got Greg Maddux's head and Nolan Ryan's arm. His brain, dude, has a lot up top!

  4. David - Mar 20, 2010 at 4:10 AM

    I'm calling dibs on the Cincy series the first weekend of June. That's when his debut will be. Get your tickets now.

  5. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    "changing where I want the ball to enter the strike zone"…."Kind of changing the depth on it". Wow, finally a jock who can really think!! And, all that talent! We hear a lot of rambling from others, but this guy can walk-the-walk.

  6. Mr. Doggett - Mar 20, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    UMMMM…can you say, "MAN CRUSH?"haha I love this guy!

  7. Dave - Mar 20, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Looks like he's going to minor-league camp today. Strasburg and Storen move across the field. Ladson and Goessling just tweeted it.

  8. Kenz aFan - Mar 20, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    If Strasburg is called up to pitch in Either the Friday or Saturday game in that home series against Cincy, the schedule is such that the Nats could easily have him pitch six of his possible eight starts leading up to the All-Star game in Nationals Park, including the first two at home, and the last three leading up to the All-Star break.If they plan it right, those six start could be a marketing bonanza.After the All-Star game, they could increase the number of rest days between starts before they shut him down.

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