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,
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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