Aug 8, 2011, 3:38 AM EDT
HAGERSTOWN, Md. — In his first minor-league rehab appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery last September, Stephen Strasburg didn’t wait long to make a statement. His first two pitches touched 96 mph, his third 98, and after 31 throws in Hagerstown it was clear the pitcher who once captivated the entire sports world still has it.
“I went out there, and it seemed almost like once they said, ‘Play ball,’ I got that feeling back real quick,” Strasburg said. “It feels better, it honestly does. I get on top of the ball a lot better. I’m able to drive the ball down into the zone a lot better.”
With a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 68 major-league innings last season, it’s hard to imagine a pitcher coming back significantly better. But according to Strasburg, he is in much better physical shape this season and believes he can be a better pitcher because of it.
“I have learned a lot from it. I am definitely in a lot better shape,” he said. “I think I’ve definitely grown up a lot from this. I’ve got a lot stronger not just physically but mentally as well.”
Read Chase Hughes’ full recap of Strasburg’s outing on CSNwashington.com.
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