Tag:Stephen Strasburg
Posted on: August 21, 2010 8:52 pm

Strasburg hurts elbow, leaves game

Stephen Strasburg was on his way to yet another dominating start through 4 1/3 innings.

He had yet to walk anyone and had given up just two hits and an RBI groundout by Ryan Howard. The Nats were on top 5-1 and all was well.

After whiffing Raul Ibanez, Domonic Brown came to the plate and ran a 1-1 count. On the next pitch, which ended up a ball, Strasburg suddenly grimaced in pain and shook his elbow.

Strasburg tried to talk his way into staying in the game, but after making the very visible grimace, there was zero chance of manager Jim Riggleman and the Nats allowing that.

It's not known how severe the injury is as the pain seemed to be brief. It may have just been a simple cramp, but are the Nats really going to take the risk? Even if Strasburg continues to report no problems, Washington would be best served to have the phenom right-hander undergo an MRI just in case.

Craig Stammen relieved Strasburg and got out of the inning unscathed to send the game into the sixth.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 17, 2010 9:14 pm

Zimmermann to return to Nats after rehab start

Jordan Zimmermann One year-long recovery and nine rehab starts in the minors, and only one thing stands between Jordan Zimmermann and his return to the big leagues: one more rehab start as Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports .

One questions why it's necessary for Zimmermann to make a 10th start, when his first nine have gone as well as can be hoped. In 34 2/3 innings split between mid-Class A Hagerstown (one start), high-Class A Potomac (four), Double-A Harrisburg (two) and Triple-A Syracuse (three), the righty has a cumulative 1.92 ERA. That number drops to 0.75 in the three Triple-A starts, striking out seven and walking two in 12 innings.

The 24-year-old made 16 starts in his rookie season of 2009, with a 4.63 ERA and 92/29 BB/K ratio over 91 1/3 starts as a top-rated prospect. His season was cut short by Tommy John surgery, although he seems to have come out of it none the worse for the wear.

When the former second-round pick returns, the Nats will have a tough decision to make on who gets bumped from the rotation. Currently, Stephen Strasburg heads up a quintet of Livan Hernandez, John Lannan, Jason Marquis and Scott Olsen. Olsen is racking up bonuses with every start he makes and just came off the disabled list. He recently gave up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Marlins and should be considered the front-runner to be bumped.

Hernandez and his 3.08 ERA is going nowhere, and Marquis is likely in the same boat despite an eye-gouging 14.33 ERA in 16 1/3 innings, having just returned from a long stint on the disabled list. Marquis is signed for $7.5 million for 2011, so the Nats would presumably like to see the veteran log some innings in preparation for a push at .500.

Lannan just returned from a minor-league demotion to give up a scant two earned runs in each of his last three starts, so is also unlikely to be bumped. Strasburg, of course, is going nowhere, especially when his most recent DL stint all but assured he can stay in the rotation the rest of the season and not exceed his innings limit.

Bet on Olsen being bumped for Zimmermann, which will give the Nationals what could very well be their rotation entering the 2011 season with only Hernandez slated to be a free agent.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: August 17, 2010 12:28 am
Edited on: August 17, 2010 12:33 am

Details on Harper deal

Former major-league general manager and current radio host Jim Bowden says via Twitter that he has spoken with Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, and that top pick Bryce Harper's deal is for a little under $10 million and is a major-league contract.

The money makes sense. You figured agent Scott Boras would insist Harper get the top package ever given to a position player (Mark Teixeira got $9.8 million) but that he wouldn't eclipse the overall mark of $15.067 million for pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Pitchers generally sign for more than position players in the top rounds.

The major-league contract is a bit more curious, given that Harper is just 17 years old. This means he goes on the 40-man roster (costing the Nationals one of their 40-man players), and that every year he doesn't make the big-league roster out of camp they have to burn one of his options sending him out.

Translation: The Nationals would not have agreed to that unless they thought Harper was already close to the majors. Hard to think of a player that young ever getting drafted with a major-league deal.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: August 16, 2010 9:27 am

Zimmerman not happy with Harper, either

Ryan Zimmerman The only knock against first overall pick Bryce Harper was his attitude -- and it seems to have already rubbed his future teammates the wrong way.

Although the Nationals have been in this signing waiting game before -- Stephen Strasburg went down to the last minute last year and Aaron Crow didn't sign at all the year before -- but this one is different, said the Nationals' best player.

Ryan Zimmerman had this rant to the Washington Post 's Adam Kilgore without even using Harper's name.
"Stephen was on a very different level from this guy," Zimmerman said. "I mean, this guy has done well at a junior college. Obviously, he's very talented. But I think Stephen, there was a lot more to him. Obviously, it would be good for us to sign him. I think the people are very smart. They understand talent, recognize talent. I don't know what he's asking for or what the numbers are, but Stephen was a completely different story than anyone else. I hope he signs and we get him. He has a chance to be a very good player.

"Stephen, we knew as soon as we drafted him he was going to be ready to come here and pitch. Very rarely do you see 20 year-old kids come up. So he's three years away. It's always different with pitchers and position players as well."

"It's just the business," Zimmerman said. "It doesn't mean he's a bad kid. I've heard all the stuff about his this and that. I'm open to meeting him. You don't get that kind of hype if you're not legit or somewhat legit, at least. I mean, it'll be interesting to see what he's doing."
While Strasburg is pulling a "do-as-he-says, not-as he does" criticizing Harper , while he went to the last minute to sign his contract. Zimmerman, on the other hand, signed very soon after he was drafted fourth overall in the 2005 draft and was called up later that year.

At the time, Zimmerman said , "I didn't want to be one of those guys that sits out the whole summer. I don't know how I could deal without a summer of baseball."

It's unlikely Harper doesn't sign, but it's just as unlikely that it doesn't come down to the wire.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 15, 2010 5:29 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2010 5:30 pm

Strasburg has strong words for Harper

For the second time in a year, the Nationals are going down to the wire with the No. 1 draft pick.

Last year Stephen Strasburg was looking out for himself, but now under contract, he's got some strong words for Bryce Harper.

Here's what he told reporters (via Nats Insider ):
"I don't have any advice for him. It's his decision. If he wants to play here, he's going to play here. He doesn't need advice from anybody convince him otherwise. If he doesn't want to play here, then we don't want him here." Really, couldn't he have left it after the first sentence considering he was the guy people were saying the same thing about a year ago? Shouldn't he understand a little more?

Harper has until midnight tomorrow to sign. Strasburg and puppet master Scott Boras famously waited until 11:59 to agree on his record contract.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 14, 2010 8:25 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2010 1:09 am

Nationals 'working hard' to sign Harper

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo doesn't sound discouraged about negotiations with overall No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper, even though he's staring down Scott Boras with two days before the deadline to sign June picks.

Rizzo was in a similar position last year with No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg, also represented by Boras. The deal was submitted to Major League Baseball seconds before midnight.

Bryce Harper "[Harper is] a player we really want in the organization," Rizzo told Bill Ladson of MLB.com. "The talks and the negotiations are always difficult, and they're always unique. This is a unique situation just like Stephen Strasburg. We're battling through it. We don't make a big public display of it. Suffice to say, we are working hard at [trying to sign him]."

In case you'd forgotten why the 17-year-old Harper was the no-question No. 1, Ladson recounts some of the Las Vegas native's stats, which are pretty surreal:

In 2008, Harper had a .599 batting average with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs in 38 games for Las Vegas High School. He followed that up with a .626 batting average, 14 home runs and 55 RBIs the next season.

Playing against a high level of competition and hitting with a wooden bat didn't present much of a challenge to Harper at the College of Southern Nevada. The 17-year-old hit .442 with 29 home runs and 89 RBIs during the 2010 regular season. And in the National Junior College World Series, Harper hit for the cycle while going 6-for-7. The next day, he went 2-for-5 in the first game of a doubleheader and 6-for-6 with four home runs in the nightcap.

Last week I posed the argument that the Nationals might be better off walking away if Harper's demands were unreasonable, but there's no doubt he's got the potential to be something special.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 10, 2010 8:09 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2010 12:34 am

Uggla ruins Strasmas

Stephen Strasburg Dan Uggla has welcomed Stephen Strasburg back from the disabled list with a a two-run homer in the first and a two-run double in the third.

Strasburg was making his first start since going on the disabled list last month and allowed one other hit in his first three innings. Through three innings, Strasburg has walked two and struck out three, allowing three hits -- Uggla's two and a double by Hanley Ramirez.

Strasburg needed 60 pitches to get through three innings.

UPDATE: Strasburg gave up another hit and added a strikeout in a scoreless fourth. He's at 71 pitches.

UPDATE: Strasburg is out of the game after a Gaby Sanchez double made it 5-1 in the fifth. He was replaced by Miguel Batista with one out and a runner on second. Sanchez scored on a Wes Helms double, closing the book on Strasburg. His final line: 4 1/3 innings, six hits, six runs (all earned), two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 84 pitches, 51 strikes.

UPDATE: From MASN's Ben Goessling , here's what Strasburg had to say after the game: "I'm a little disappointed in myself because I really went out there not focusing on the one thing you've got to focus on every other start, just going out there and competing and going with what you have. I spent the whole time worrying about trying to fix what was going wrong, instead of just letting it go and throwing the ball."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 7, 2010 12:31 am

Harper enrolled in classes

Bryce Harper Bryce Harper has enrolled in classes at the College of Southern Nevada, improving his leverage in negotiations with the Washington Nationals.

Harper has also met the new coach at the junior college, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports .

Harper, the No. 1 pick in June's draft, has until Aug. 16 to get a deal done or he heads back to the draft-eligible pool for 2011.

Harper left high school early to go to the junior college and be eligible for the 2010 draft. Harper is "advised" by Scott Boras, who has advised several draft picks in the past to go back to school (if they have eligibility) or go to an independent league. Based on Boras' track record, he's not afraid to follow through on waiting another year before cashing in.

Some, including CBS Facts & Rumors blogger David Andriesen, believe calling the bluff may be the best course of action for the Nationals .

Last season, Boras and the Nationals went down to the  final minutes before agreeing to a deal for Stephen Strasburg. In 2008, the Nationals didn't come to terms with Aaron Crow and used their compensatory pick to select Drew Storen.

As for Harper's latest, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo declined to comment to Ladson.

"I'm not going to discuss our negotiations other than to say we are in negotiations with all of our unsigned draft choices," Rizzo said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com