VIERA, Fla. -- Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen have both been sent to minor-league camp and each will open the season at Class AA Harrisburg.
The fellow first-round picks were informed this morning. Strasburg, who is already on the 40-man roster and has a major-league contract, was optioned to Harrisburg. Storen, who was a non-roster invitee to spring training, was re-assigned to minor-league camp.
UPDATE AT 10:26 A.M. -- Also sent down this morning: Matt Chico (optioned to Class AAA Syracuse), Jamie Burke and Doug Slaten (both re-assigned to minor-league camp).
UPDATE AT 10:43 A.M. -- Strasburg on the decision: "It's all good. I'm going to go down to Harrisburg and learn what I need to learn and hopefully get called up soon."
UPDATE AT 10:48 A.M. -- Strasburg, on the factors involved in this decision: "I wasn't really shocked. I was trying to just go up here and do my thing and not really worry about what happens. Because it's a business now. It's completely out of my control. There's no point worrying about it. I was focusing on baseball. I'm still going to focus on baseball. They have a plan for me. It doesn't matter what I think or how I feel. They're going to stick to their plan, and I'm going to do what they tell me to do."
UPDATE AT 10:51 A.M. -- Storen, asked if there's any disappointment in getting sent down: "Yeah, that was my goal, to make the team out of camp. But in the bigger picture, I understand. I want to make a career in the big leagues. And going and developing and becoming polished in the minor leagues to get my shot in the big leagues is part of the plan. That's fine."
UPDATE AT 10:54 A.M. -- Storen, on being paired up with Strasburg at Harrisburg: "It's kind of more just me following him around [laughing]. Nah, it's good being with him. I think we're kind of similar situations. Obviously, he's got a lot more talent than I do. But it will be fun being with him. We both look at the big picture, and we see it as a career. I want to be there now, but I understand there's a process to it."
UPDATE AT 10:57 A.M. -- General manager Mike Rizzo, on both the Strasburg and Storen decisions: "Being consistent with our player development plan, we feel they need seasoning down in the minor leagues. It was for the benefit of their development, they need time to refine their tremendous skills. Both conversations went well. Both players are obviously competitors who are disappointed they didn't make the club but understood the rationale behind it."
UPDATE AT 11:00 A.M. -- Rizzo, on why both players are being sent to Class AA: "We kind of want to keep that group together. I like that group together. They're comfortable with each other. Where you start's not important. It's where you finish."
UPDATE AT 11:05 A.M. -- Rizzo, asked if there was any thought to putting Strasburg in the majors on Opening Day: "You know, you've heard me make this speech since we got the first pick in the draft last year and we started talking about Strasburg. I'm just not a believer that a player can come from amateur baseball and step right into the major leagues. I've seen terrific prospects attempt it, and the failure rate is just too great. This is a prized asset. Both he and Drew are prize assets. We have to do what's best for the player and the organization long-term. I think the best way to do it is to give him some seasoning in the minor leagues and then step onto the biggest stage, the best baseball league in the world and get after it. The goal is: When they get up here, they never go back."
UPDATE AT 11:14 A.M. -- Manager Jim Riggleman, on Matt Chico: "I think he's real close. I think there's good days ahead for Matt. I think he's going to be a real asset for us."
UPDATE AT 11:17 A.M. -- Chico, on his demotion: "To be honest with you, all of us want to make the 25-man roster. But I feel like I had probably the longest shot out of anyone. Just because of the history and not being [in the majors] for a year and a half and not really pitching for a while. The only thing I could do, I wanted to do, was come in and show that I'm healthy and show that I can throw some pitches a little better than I was before. I feel like I did that."