Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Frigid conditions in Viera forced everyone to bundle up.
OK, enough about the weather. As for today's workout...
-- Stephen Strasburg's latest bullpen session drew its usual level of attention, from team executives and media alike. All pitchers threw for 12 minutes today (up from eight the first time they took the mounds). Strasburg appeared to be working extensively on his breaking ball, the devastating slider/curveball hybrid that ate alive hitters in college and the Arizona Fall League. Today, though, the elements ate him up a bit. Pitching directly into the teeth of the wind, Strasburg regularly bounced the pitch in front of catcher Wil Nieves, who nonetheless kept offering words of encouragement. Pitching coach Steve McCatty also had positive words for the rookie right-hander afterward. "I said, 'Hey, don't worry about it,'" McCatty said. "'You're not going to make the team today anyways. Just relax and get your throwing in.'" I know some out there are questioning whether all this attention and coverage of Strasburg is overkill, and I get that. I really do. One guy who has yet to even throw a pitch in the minor leagues should not get this kind of treatment. But then listen to what else McCatty said today: "Everybody's talking about how good his stuff is. We might be underestimating it. It's pretty unbelievable." This kid is a different animal, and as such, he's going to be covered differently than anyone else. That's just the way it is.
-- Adam Dunn has been doing extensive defensive work at first base the last week with Tim Foli and Pat Listach. Listening to Dunn talk about it today, it's clear he's committed to making serious strides at a position he had only minimal experience at prior to last summer. "This is definitely a fresh start for me," he said. "I'm really having to learn a new position for me. I know I've played it before, but I never learned it. Now, as far as my footwork and things like that, it's learning a new position. That's exciting, and it's been fun so far."