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Strasburg to make spring debut next week, but still likely headed for minors

Mar 2, 2010, 11:42 AM EDT

Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to make his first spring training start next Tuesday against the Tigers, but manager Jim Riggleman indicated again this morning that the 21-year-old phenom will likely begin this season in the minors.

I think it’s going to come down to a philosophical decision more so than a performance decision. We anticipate that he is going to throw great. I think it’s going to come down to, what is going to be best for Stephen Strasburg as an organization. I have been very impressed and I continue to be impressed. I’m not trying to dodge the question at all, but I’m going to be impressed with a lot of guys, but some of them are not going to make the club.

At this point Strasburg’s entire professional track record consists of 19 innings in the Arizona Fall League and he won’t be 22 years old until mid-July, so with the Nationals unlikely to contend for much of anything in 2010 it makes little sense to rush him. If he’s indeed already capable of dominating in the majors Strasburg can prove it by first blowing away Triple-A hitters for a dozen starts.
At that point the Nationals can call him up for remaining two-thirds of the year and also delay the start of his service time enough to push back his free agency another season. Obviously everyone wants to see what Strasburg can do now and Nationals fans could use something to get excited about, but ultimately having him around for 2016 is probably more valuable than having him around for the first two months of 2010.

  1. Josh Fisher - Mar 2, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    Aaron, I disagree. Service time is important, but Strasburg is such an anomaly. There really might be only so many bullets in that shoulder. If he can get major league hitters out from the ‘pen right away, I think he needs to be up.

  2. Bombo - Mar 2, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    No reason at all to wait his service time this season. Nats are going to be nowhere near contention. Build for the future son.

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