VIERA, Fla. - In no way is this a surprise, but Stephen Strasburg will be the Nationals' opening day starter for the second straight season.
It's been clear for some time now that Strasburg was lining up to get the ball for April 1 against the Marlins at Nationals Park. Strasburg's spring training pitching schedule has him set to be on normal rest come April 1, and the right-hander has looked sharp in his four spring starts to this point.
Manager Davey Johnson finally made the announcement today at the friendly prodding of reporters.
"I guess you want me to say it, right? He's going to be my opening day starter," Johnson said. "You drug it out of me."
Strasburg started opening day for the Nationals last season, allowing one run on five hits over seven innings in a win over the Cubs.
He went on to post a 15-6 record with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 159 1/3 innings before being shut down Sept. 7 after reaching a predetermined innings limit.
There will be no innings limits for Strasburg this season, and he came into camp talking about wanting to be a workhorse in the Nationals' rotation, a guy who can go out and give seven or eight innings every time he gets the ball.
His first chance will come less than three weeks from now, when he takes the mound at Nationals Park.
"He's just got great stuff," Johnson said. "He's very dedicated. He works very hard. I mean, that's a great honor. I've got a lot of great starters in my rotation."