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Stephen Strasburg brilliant again in latest rehab outing

Sep 1, 2011, 9:49 PM EDT

strasburg ap wide AP

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was dominant in his sixth minor league rehab start Thursday evening at Double-A Harrisburg.

According to Nathan Fenno of the Washington Times, the 23-year-old phenom surrendered just one hit over six scoreless innings while reaching 99 mph with his fastball. Strasburg threw 55 of his 71 pitches for strikes, fanning four opposing batters and yielding just one free pass via a hit-by-pitch. He induced seven groundball outs and four flyouts.

Strasburg threw five innings of one-run ball last time out at Triple-A Syracuse and seems to be growing more and more comfortable executing his full arsenal of pitches. In fact, 15 of his final 36 deliveries Thursday were either curveballs or changeups.

Strasburg is on track to return to the major leagues next Tuesday against the Dodgers. He’d probably do well to build his pitch count with one or two more rehab appearances, but the Nationals are excited about filling their stadium a couple of times down the stretch and don’t believe he’s in danger of re-injury. The former No. 1 overall draft pick underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on September 3, 2010.

  1. pbsenerchia - Sep 1, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    They have to call him up now – his 30 day rehab period is done. Can’t wait to see him back in DC …

  2. aceshigh11 - Sep 1, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    I hope he can stay healthy…this guy is an amazing talent.

    It just scares me that he’s already had serious arm surgery and he’s only 23.

    • ThisIsBaseball - Sep 1, 2011 at 11:32 PM

      Mariano Rivera was cut up to perform a TJS in ’92 when he was 23, but on the table the decided it wasn’t necessary.

    • tacklemeelmo - Sep 1, 2011 at 11:32 PM

      While I agree with you, it is becoming more and more common for young pitchers to have serious arm surgeries. I believe Colby Lewis had Tommy John’s at age 16 and he’s continued on to have a solid career and there are plenty of other examples. It’s really a testament to how successful these surgeries are now a days.

  3. sknut - Sep 1, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Why would he pitch one game at Triple A and the next at Double A?

    Not a Nats fan but I hope he stays healthy, the Nationals could have something special cooking in a couple of years.

    • Drew Silva - Sep 1, 2011 at 10:26 PM

      The Nats set it up so that all his rehab starts were home games for their various minor league affiliates. Triple-A Syracuse was on the road. Spreading the wealth.

      • CJ - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:52 AM

        It’s actually common practice….many teams move rehabbing plays up and down the system based on home schedules to keep them in the area and on a rehab regimen that could be thrown off by travelling schedules. Besides these guys travel enough during the year and anything they can do to alleviate some of that can’t hurt. It’s also easier for the big league guys to make the trip out to observe the guy if it’s within a reasonable driving distance.

        The quality of the opponent relly doesn’t matter, they’re just looking for control, velocity, and endurance. Nothing else really matters.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:31 PM

        Plus, Strasburg (and Pudge Rodriguez) helped the Harrisburg Senators clinch an Eastern League playoff spot. Often, MLB teams make personnel moves without regard to MiLB playoffs, but this worked out nicely.

        The report from The Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin:

  4. sknut - Sep 1, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    Ahh very fan friendly. that’s a smart move on their part.

  5. amctjc - Sep 1, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    This is a dumb move by the Nationals just to fill a couple seats…….the combination of adrenaline and a reconstructred elbow less than a year away from surgery is not a good combination….the Nationals if they were smart would allow him to continue to make the maybe 1 start he has left in the minors and either shut him down or send him to their spring training home and continue to build strength…. his first major league appearance should be next spring.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:41 PM

      I agree that it would not be good to bring up Strasburg just for the sake of filling seats. However, I see no harm in letting him build up arm strength with the big club.

      My bigger concern is that my fellow Nats fans will expect him to be 100% recovered, and pitching like he did pre-surgery. That’s not a realistic expectation.

  6. er0ck5 - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    I hope that picture is from last year and he has since changed his delivery. If that is a current picture, that does not look like an angle his shoulder/elbow will be able to sustain without injuring himself again.

    • Drew Silva - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:25 AM

      That picture is from tonight (er, last night).

      Good morning, HBT.

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