Strasburg on second rehab start: felt more like a “normal game”

WOODBRIDGE, Va. - Nationals right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg looked stronger in his second rehab outing. He threw only 33 pitches, 26 strikes, in three innings of shutout work, allowing just two infield singles, no walks, and striking out five.

His fastball was lethal again, consistently hitting 98 mph, and touching 99 mph in the second inning.

After catching a grounder and throwing to first to end the third, Strasburg came off to a round of applause from the sold out crowd at Pfitzner Stadium. Single-A Potomac won the game 1-0 over Myrtle Beach before the standing room only gathering of 8,619.

Strasburg said the outing felt better than his first rehab assignment Sunday in Hagerstown.

Byron recaps Strasburg’s second rehab start as the Nats’ ace goes three innings and strikes out five batters

“I tried to treat it more like a normal game,” Strasburg said. “Throw pitches that I wanted to throw in certain counts. I was able to throw some for strikes and throw some out of the zone, make them chase (pitches).”

Potomac Nationals manager Matt LeCroy felt Strasburg is “big-league ready” right now with the stuff he displayed Friday night.

“He had good breaking stuff,” LeCroy said. “His command was solid, down in the zone, used his off speed, worked the ball in and out.”

Strasburg did well and was pleased with the start, but he knows there still is a ways to go.

“It takes time,” Strasburg said. “When you take so much time off from not throwing in a game you just got to go out there and sometimes get knocked around. You have to go out there and take your lumps and learn from it.

“Today was a good sign. I was able to feel my pitches a lot better than I have in the past. I made some big adjustments that I will hopefully I am going to carry into my next outing.”

Strasburg finished up with 17 pitches in the bullpen. He is likely headed back to Hagerstown Wednesday for a scheduled four innings and 60 pitches.

Both Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg are on the road Aug. 17. Syracuse is at home, but it would seem the Nationals would prefer to have Strasburg work up to Triple-A in his fourth or fifth rehab start and go back to Hagerstown on Wednesday.

“This is part of the process,” Strasburg said. “I am a little past 11 months right now. Typical time for recovery is 12 to 18 (months). I think I am right on schedule. I haven’t had any setbacks so far. So, I am just trying to keep it that way. I get a little bit better each time out.”

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