He had a few problems with his slider in the howling wind, sure, but those are mere quibbles with what was another strong day for Stephen Strasburg at Nationals camp on Thursday.
Throwing to catcher Wil Nieves, Strasburg had his third bullpen session of the spring, which lasted 12 minutes and spanned anywhere from 50-60 pitches (pitching coach Steve McCatty wasn’t counting, professed not to care about the total and left the media to do its own calculations based on a pace of about five pitches per minute, give or take).
Strasburg spent a decent portion of the session working on his sharp-breaking slider, and bounced a few of them in front of Nieves, who blocked all of them and kept shouting encouragement to the No.1 overall pick. Afterward, McCatty reassured the 21-year-old a few hiccups were fine.
“I said, ‘Don’t worry about it. You’re not going to make the team today, anyways,’” McCatty said.
His sizzling fastball had no problems, though, and McCatty joined the growing club of observers heaping lofty praise on Strasburg:
“Everybody is talking about how good his stuff is. We might be underestimating it. It’s pretty unbelievable. The kid’s a horse. He’s a stud. There’s no other way to paint it. Hitters are going to tell you how good he is or how good he’s doing. But you just don’t see that stuff. You just don’t. I have not seen it. I haven’t been with Nolan (Ryan). Have any of you guys seen anything like that before?”
Met with a chorus of shaking heads, McCatty went on.
“It is what it is,” he said. “Appreciate it.”