VIERA, Fla. - There’s only so much you can take out of a throwing session in which the players standing in the batter’s box know exactly what’s coming.
During live batting practice, the hitters are made aware of what pitch will be heading their way, leading to confident swings when the player actually chooses to take the bat off his shoulder.
“He looked good,” said Wilson Ramos, who caught Strasburg’s session. “He just opened up (his front shoulder) a little bit, but that’s the first time he (threw) to hitters. For next time, he’ll do better. The first time, he had good command, just practiced a little bit. Today, for me, he was throwing 70, 80 percent. So next time it will be a little better.”
Strasburg threw 37 pitches overall, only seven of which left the cage. Five were hit fair, and only three of those five were struck all that solidly.
“Felt good,” Strasburg said. “Felt good to be back out there and everything started to come back as I got deeper into it.”
Strasburg worked mainly with his fastball, but threw a few offspeed pitches, as well. He had a few really sharp curves, but left a couple over the heart of the plate, one of which was pounded up the middle by Tyler Moore.
“I hung a couple of the first (curves, but) they really started to come back and get a lot sharper as I went on,” Strasburg said.
Of the 37 pitches Strasburg threw, 22 were taken by the hitter in the box. Some position players like just tracking pitches during the early stages of live BP sessions, getting a read for pitchers’ arm slots and the velocity of big league fastballs after months away from live pitches.
That can be a bit tough for some pitchers, who understand that the hitters have their own priorities and thus don’t begrudge them for looking at pitches, but prefer to see how batters react to their pitches by taking swings.
“It doesn’t really bother me too much,” Strasburg said. “Obviously, they’re your teammates, too, so you want them to feel good about it. Obviously it’s a little different out there in games, they don’t really know what’s coming. Same thing for them, they want to get in there and get a chance to time up some fastballs and get their timing.”