Stephen Strasburg made his final spring training tuneup in an intrasquad game against Class AAA hitters, throwing 73 pitches over five innings on a backfield down the road from Space Coast Stadium. Catcher Kurt Suzuki came over and caught the first few innings, just to stay on the same page with Strasburg.
Strasburg allowed no runs on five hits and no walks, striking out five. After his final inning, Strasburg hopped in a golf cart and rode back to the park, chauffeured by pitching coach Steve McCatty. The next time he takes the mound, Strasburg will be starting opening day against the Marlins at Nationals Park.
“I feel happy where he’s at, but he’s never going to be happy where he’s at,” McCatty said. “That’s just Stephen. That’s just his nature. But yeah, he feels like he’s throwing the ball well.”
In his six major league starts this spring, Strasburg punched up a 4.62 ERA in 25 1/3 innings with 31 strikeouts and seven walks, allowing 27 hits. Most importantly, he came through healthy. He was throwing 96-mph sinkers today, and he said he is good to go.
Strasburg will have the usual four days of rest to prepare for his start Monday. The Nationals had Strasburg pitch in the minor leagues because today is also Ross Detwiler’s turn to pitch, and he’ll be facing the Braves in the major league game.
Yesterday, Drew Storen got an inning of work in on the minor league side in order to pitch consecutive days. He struck out all three batters he faced with 12 pitches, then threw more pitches in the bullpen. He said he often “clicks in” the first time he throws back-to-back days in spring.
One last quick note: Manager Johnson said he may make cuts after today’s game, and the Nationals will decide on their final 25-man roster before they head north tomorrow. Henry Rodriguez will pitch today, and how he fares and looks may help the Nationals make their final 25-man roster decision.