Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Strasburg: Day 2
VIERA, Fla. -- Perhaps one of these days, a 10-minute bullpen session by Stephen Strasburg won't qualify as news in Nats camp. Right now, though, every time the rookie right-hander grabs the ball, people stop what they're doing to watch.
Just as was the case Sunday morning, all eyes were on Strasburg this morning when he threw his second bullpen of the spring. Coaches lined up behind the mounds and watched with great interest. So did several team officials, including Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson, who watched from a golf cart directly behind the catchers.
You'd think by now, there's little Strasburg could do to impress these hardened baseball men, who have probably witnessed, oh, 384,692 bullpen sessions in their careers. And yet this guy really is different, because the reviews afterward were once again glowing.
"I thought he threw real good the other day," manager Jim Riggleman said. "And then today was off-the-chart good. He was really good today."
Among those watching Strasburg for the first time today was Ivan Rodriguez, who served as the 21-year-old's catcher for the session. Pudge has caught his share of studs over the years. In fact, Strasburg was all of three years old when Rodriguez made his big-league debut in 1991. So his opinion carries some weight.
Count Pudge among the believers in the power of Strasburg.
"What I see for a minute was great," he said. "The kid is pretty amazing. It's only the first time I catch him. I need to keep catching him. And I'd like to see him in games pitching. But as far as the control, he's right there. Fastball, breaking ball, changeup, they're all for strikes. If he keeps doing what he's doing, he's going to be alright."
One other thing to note about Strasburg: I was told today by a club source that he will only pitch in Nats home games at Space Coast Stadium this spring. No road trips. Probably a smart business decision, since the gate receipts should be a tad larger on those days. But tough luck for the folks in Kissimmee, Port St. Lucie and Jupiter, who will have to make the drive to Viera if they want to see Strasburg in person this spring.
Plenty more nuggets and news to share from today's proceedings; I'll have those later on this afternoon.
Posted by Mark Zuckerman at 1:47 PM