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Strasburg ready for next step

Aug 23, 2011, 12:19 AM EDT

Updated at 10:55 p.m.

HAGERSTOWN — It can be easy to forget, given everything that’s happened over the last 18 months, that Stephen Strasburg had never spent a day below Class AA before he embarked on his rehab from Tommy John surgery this month.

Strasburg has now started four games against Class A competition, three of them for the Hagerstown Suns. And though he’s accomplished everything he’s needed to in these outings — including Monday night’s three-inning outing against the Hickory Crawdads — he also understands it’s time to move on to a higher caliber of opponent.

“I think it would help me out a lot,” he said. “I’ve never pitched at this level before. This is kind of new. I’m still trying to figure out how these guys are going to approach me. … I’ve really learned how to set guys up. At this level, I don’t really have a chance to set them up, because they’re already swinging.”

Strasburg, for the uninitiated, is hardly the prototypical million-dollar arm with a 10-cent head. He’s as analytical a pitcher as they get, especially for a 23-year-old with only 12 games of big-league experience.

And at this stage of his rehab, now that he’s reached the 60-pitch plateau and established that his arm feels as strong as it ever has,
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  1. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Very encouraging! We are all looking forward to his return to Natstown.

  2. natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    Atta way, kid!

  3. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    Go SS!!! Go MZ!!!:-)Sof

  4. Anonymous8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Why not start him slowly in relief for an inning of work for the Nats and get him ramped up that way?

  5. SCNatsFan - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Encouraged by this news as well as the last two appearances by Detwiler – you can hope maybe Detwiler has turned the corner and can go from a prospect to an actual player. If he makes the leap to a MLB starter we might just have too many good arms in the near future which can be dealt to fill holes. Wouldn't that be a shame???

  6. JaneB - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    It's funny…it never occurred to me that it would be harder to pitch to the low A guys. I jus figured it would be easier! But the fact that they don't react like Major Leaguers was new to me, in terms of a pitcher rehabbing. Looking forward to Strasmas Redux (sorry 1a…I can't help myself).

  7. NatsLady - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Mark, when you have a chance, any news on Pudge? I heard that the Giant's backup catcher is on the DL.

  8. MJR - Aug 23, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    FWIW: Pudge was in the dugout last night. Not sure what that means except that he's no longer in FL or Hagerstown. I'd really hate to see him traded…about as much as I'd hate to see either Ramos or Flores traded. But, I guess we could rent him to someone for the rest of the season. I'll bet he'd love to play for a contender.

  9. Dawn - Aug 23, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Thanks for asking NatsLady, was wondering about Pudge myself. Would rather not see him leave though.

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