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Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to face live hitters today.
Yes, it's time for "Live BP," in which pitchers get to face real hitters for the first time this year. It's not quite real game action -- the pitchers announce what they're throwing in advance and have an L-shaped screen in front of the mound, and the batters are in a cage -- but it's as much excitement as we're going to get before the Grapefruit League kicks off Saturday.
And who are we going to get on the mound right off the bat this morning? Why none other than the Nationals' top two starters: Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. Each is scheduled to throw live BP simultaneously on adjacent fields.
The poor souls scheduled to bat against them: Tyler Moore, Roger Bernadina and Chad Tracy against Strasburg; Matt Skole, Carlos Rivero and Chris Marrero against Gonzalez.
I walked up to Moore this morning and asked if he saw that he's slated for a showdown with Strasburg. He did, prompting Corey Brown (who was standing nearby) to needle his teammate a bit.
Brown: "You scared?"
Moore: "Scared of what?"
Brown: "Sounds like it."
Moore: "Shoot. I'm swinging away. I might take a few to get my timing, then I'll pull the trigger. Hey, why not? Gotta hit anyway."
Sadly, we won't be treated to a Strasburg-Bryce Harper showdown that might cause the universe to implode on itself. Looks like Harper is scheduled to face another pitcher later in the session, possibly Drew Storen.
As for Gonzalez, after he throws his live BP session and complete his workout, he's slated to speak to reporters about last night's ESPN report that appears to clear him of any wrongdoing in the Biogenesis saga.