Stephen Strasburg will continue his comeback from Tommy John surgery Saturday by moving one level away from the major leagues, making his next minor league rehab start at Class AAA Syracuse, Manager Davey Johnson said.
Monday night, Strasburg allowed two hits and one earned run in three innings, throwing 60 pitches after overcoming a spotty, 27-pitch first inning for Class A Hagerstown. Strasburg admitted he wanted to face more advanced hitters who won’t be so eager to swing at the first pitch. At Class AAA, he should have that chance.
“I mean, it’s different facing hitters with a plan and those who are just up there hacking,” Strasburg said after Monday’s rehab start. “You’re not going to see too many guys up there hacking in the big leagues or even at the next level. You’re going to see guys with a little more an advanced approach as you go up in levels and that’s where you really got to attack guys the way you know how.
“It’s still hard to really go out there and set guys up, because for some reason, they are not going to change their approach, whatever it is. Basically right now, I’m just trying to work on the things [pitching coach Steve] McCatty wants me to work on and if I give up some hits, I’m fine, just as long as I’m executing the pitches the way I know I can.”
Strasburg has made four minor league rehab starts, three at Hagerstown and one at Class A Potomac. Strasburg could return as early as Sept. 2, Manager Davey Johnson has said, but he seems most likely to return either Sept. 6 or Sept. 7, after the end of the minor league regular season Sept. 5.
Overall, Strasburg has allowed seven earned runs in 9 1/3 innings during his minor league rehab starts. He has struck out 18, walked three and allowed 11 hits.
Syracuse will face Rochester, the Twins’ Class AAA affiliate, on Saturday.