Tag:Stephen Strasburg
Posted on: August 22, 2011 8:04 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2011 8:39 am

Strasburg strikes out 6 in 3 innings

Stephen StrasburgBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Stephen Strasburg gave up a run in the first inning of his fourth rehab start Monday, but settled down to strike out six in three innings. He went into the game with a 65-pitch pitch limit and ended up throwing 60 pitches, 40 for strikes for Class A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League.

In his three innings, he gave up two hits, two runs -- one earned -- walked one and hit a batter.

"I think he's right on schedule," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington. "I think he looks terrific." 

If he is kept on his every-five-days rotation, he would pitch again on Saturday. The Nationals have preferred to keep him pitching at their own affiliates' home ballparks, but the franchise's only minor league squad at home that day is the Triple-A team in Syracuse. He has yet to pitch above high Class A in his rehab. He could make two more minor-league starts before returning to the Nationals' rotation on either Sept. 6 of 7.

Zuckerman asked Strasburg if he felt like he was ready to pitch in Washington in two weeks -- "Absolutely," Strasburg replied. "Sixty pitches is a piece of cake, but I wish I did it in four or five innings." 

Strasburg needed 27 pitches to get out of the first, walking a batter in addition to the hit-by-pitch, as well as allowing an RBI single. He did strike out two and threw 16 strikes in the first frame. However, he rebounded in the second, needing just 12 pitches to retire the side in order with two strikeouts and a flyout.

According to Zuckerman (via Twitter), Strasburg's fastball sat at 96-97 mph and reached 98.

Strasburg cruised through his first two rehab starts before allowing three hits and five earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings last week for Hagerstown.

"It has nothing to do with what the results are," Rizzo said (again, from CSNWashington). "I just wanted to see the arm free and easy, which I did. The ball coming out of hand well. And some action on the pitches. And everything was a plus tonight. He walked off the mound after 60 pitches, and if he feels good and tomorrow he's feeling good, then it was a successful night and we move onto the next." 

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Posted on: August 22, 2011 9:35 am

Pepper: Pirates send small message with Tabata

By Matt Snyder

The Pirates announced Sunday that they agreed to terms with outfielder Jose Tabata. He'll be paid $14 million over the next six seasons, with options that could keep Tabata in Pittsburgh through 2019 (Associated Press). The deal buys out the remaining three years of arbitration, but that's not the important part -- which is that the Pirates made a long-term commitment to a young player.

Tabata, 23, has a .356 on-base percentage with 15 stolen bases and 44 runs this year in 75 games, serving mostly as the leadoff man.

He is certainly no Andrew McCutchen and he's been signed for a pretty cheap deal, but the signal is the same as it was when the Pirates were buyers at the trade deadline: These Pirates aren't a laughing matter anymore. No longer is ownership content to simply be a virtual Triple-A team, developing players only to have them traded or leave via free agency. When they lock up McCutchen, which I fully expect, the signal will be even louder. Granted, the Pirates will never be a large-market spender, but the increased attendance this season shows the fans are still there, should the team become a legitimate contender. Expect the Tabata deal to be the first of several.

Strasburg Watch: Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg will make his fourth rehab start Monday. He'll pitch for Class-A Hagerstown again, where he was shelled last time out. He was dominant in his first two outings, however, so Monday will be a good gauge to see if that was simply an off-day. He's going to be working toward four innings and 65 pitches (Nationals Journal). That's a huge sign, because from 65 pitches, a lot of pitchers jump to 80 next time. Presumably, 80 pitches is enough to get back to the bigs. Strasburg is scheduled to have a fifth rehab start August 27, but if everything goes well in these next two outings, that's likely all he'll need before joining the Nats.

Joe on A.J.: Yankees manager Joe Girardi and struggling starting pitcher A.J. Burnett appeared to exchange some pretty heated words Saturday night, but both Girardi and Burnett said the issue was Burnett's anger at the home plate umpire. Girardi reiterated that sentiment Sunday, but also noted Burnett is on shaky ground due to his pitching performance. "The reality is he needs to pitch better," Girardi said (New York Times baseball blog).

Pronk injured: Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner broke an 0-for-16 slump with a single late in Sunday's game, but when he rounded first base, he pulled up lame and limped his way to getting tagged out and back to the dugout. He has a right foot strain, which is a similar injury to one that kept him out for five games earlier in the season (MLB.com).

Time for revenge: It's been a while since the Rangers and Red Sox played. In fact, it was the first series of the season. Many of us may have forgotten the Rangers kicked the Red Sox teeth in for three games, sweeping them and outscoring them 26-11 in three games. It's the only team the Red Sox have played this season and not beaten. Reliever Daniel Bard certainly hasn't forgotten, though, as he said "we owe them something for the first series of the year," Sunday (BostonHerald.com). The two teams square off for a four-game series in Texas, beginning Monday.

Winded Grandyman: Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson hit an inside-the-park home run at Minnesota Sunday, and he was a bit tired after the trip around the bases. “It was good until everyone wanted to talk,” Granderson said (LoHud). ” As we’re coming in, everyone was asking about it, and I couldn’t really talk too much.”

Action Jackson: Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson ended Sunday's game by throwing out the would-be tying run at home plate. A game-ending double play scored 8-2 hasn't happened since 1988 when Pirates center fielder Andy Van Slyke pulled it off, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Swarzak in, Blackburn out: Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn injured his right forearm early in his start against the Yankees Sunday, and it looks like he's headed for the disabled list, as the Twins have already named a replacement in the rotation. Anthony Swarzak will get the spot (Around the Majors). Swarzak is 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in five starts this season.

Love for Hendry: Recently-fired Cubs (former) general manager Jim Hendry has been beaten down pretty good in terms of fans, message boards, Twitter, etc. But you rarely hear anything bad about him as a person from his own players, media who know him personally or even opposing players. Former Cubs shorstop Ryan Theriot -- who Hendry traded last season -- joins in, calling Hendry a good person who has a good heart (Chicago Tribune).

Leyland tossed again: Tigers manager Jim Leyland had a pretty nice ejection Sunday, marking the fifth time in the past two months he's been run. The Detroit Free-Press has a list of the five ejections.

On this date: Mark McGwire made his big-league debut 25 years ago today. (Hardball Times)

Oh, Nails: Former Phillies and Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra is currently serving time in prison because he filed for bankruptcy and then tried to sell off part of his estate for profit -- which is otherwise known as embezzlement -- and was also accused of lying under oath and trying to hide some of his assets from the bankruptcy court. Apparently, however, Lenny doesn't believe the law applies to him because he was good in the 1993 World Series. Seriously: Read his post by clicking here and let me know if I'm wrong, but I believe that's kind of his argument -- warning, the post has the grammar and spelling of an eight year old. The best part is that Dykstra is delusional enough to believe he's been targeted by a government that wants to redeem itself for the O.J. Simpson case by nailing a celebrity. I mean, you can't make this stuff up. It's amazing.

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 9:53 pm

Strasburg has rough rehab outing

By Matt Snyder

Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg was nearly untouchable during his second rehab start, but Wednesday night, he didn't have near the same success in his third rehab start. Pitching for Low-A Hagerstown -- where Bryce Harper began the season -- Strasburg was knocked around the yard by the Lexington Legends.

Strasburg reached his pitch limit after just 1 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits -- including three doubles -- two walks and five earned runs while striking out three (MiLB.com box score).

Still, don't misconstrue getting hit hard for Strasburg being rushed or not being completely healthy. He's perfectly within the timetable for returning from Tommy John surgery and reports from the ballpark had him in the high-90s with his fastball again, getting up to 99 (Amanda Comak via Twitter). The only thing that really matters at this point is Strasburg continues to build stamina while not losing strength. Plus, it's only his third time out for game action after a long absence. It's only natural he's going to have a bad outing at some point. He seemed to be thinking somewhat along those lines.

"Sometimes it's good to have games like this," Strasburg said after the outing (Comak Twitter). "You need to kind of get knocked around a bit to see what you've been doing wrong."

Earlier Wednesday night, Nationals manager Davey Johnson hinted at a possible -- speculative, not set in stone by any stretch -- timetable for Strasburg's return to the bigs. The perfect date, according to the manager, would be September 2 (Nationals Journal).

The rationale is easy to follow. Should Strasburg stay on a five-day schedule, his next two starts would be August 22 and August 27. Meanwhile, Jordan Zimmermann is on an innings limit for the Nationals -- as he returned this season from having his own Tommy John surgery. Zimmermann is likely to be able to make three more starts before hitting the limit imposed by the Nats, meaning the first time his turn would open up is September 2. That would give Strasburg one extra day of rest between his last rehab start and first 2011 start for the Nationals.

Obviously, a lot can change before then in terms of setbacks to Strasburg or the Nationals feeling like he needs an extra rehab start to get ready. But for now, that's where the thought process is -- or at least was. Things might change after the bad outing Wednesday.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 8:26 pm

Strasburg dominant in latest rehab start

By Matt Snyder

Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg went out on his second minor-league rehab start Friday night, and the plan was to have him throw either three innings or 50 pitches. As it turns out, he was so good, three innings wasn't enough. Strasburg got through his three innings needing only 33 pitches, so he immediately walked down to the bullpen to get some extra work in (Mark Zuckerman via Twitter).

In the three innings Strasburg worked on the field in front of an abnormally huge crowd for Class-A Potomac, he was nearly unhittable. He was reportedly hitting 98 and 99 on the radar with his fastball, buckling hitters' knees with his curveball and hitting 90 on the radar on his changeup. Not surprising, the results were impressive.

In three innings, Strasburg allowed only two baserunners -- who reached on infield hits. Not one ball left the infield all night. Of the nine outs Strasburg recorded, four were on groundouts and five were strikeouts (CSNWashington.com).

Strasburg, 23, hasn't pitched in a game since last August 21. He had season-ending surgery on his right elbow shortly thereafter. The usual return time for the so-dubbed Tommy John procedure is between 10 and 14 months.

Strasburg stormed onto the scene last season, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings. If he can stay healthy, he'll be an elite pitcher for years to come.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 3:09 pm

A-Rod, McCann to begin rehab stints Friday

Alex RodriguezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

While there are plenty of good big-league games on tap for Friday (more on that later in On Deck), the minor leagues will have some big names playing for them as Alex Rodriguez and Brian McCann are scheduled to begin rehab stints Friday in addition to Stephen Strasburg's second-rehab start at Class A Potomac.

Brian McCannRodriguez will DH for Class A Tampa in Dunedin, Fla., against the Blue Jays' affiliate at 7 p.m. Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that A-Rod will likely play third base on Saturday. Rodriguez had surgery on July 11 to repair a torn menuscus in his right knee. He's expected to join the team next week for a road trip to Kansas City and Minnesota.

McCann will also serve as a designated hitter for Triple-A Gwinett in his first game back from a strained oblique muscle in his right side, tweets MLB.com's Mark Bowman. McCann could also return by Monday. McCann won't have to travel far to play for the team, located in Atlanta's suburbs.

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 6:34 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 9:22 pm

Strasburg to start Friday at Potomac

Stephen StrasburgBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Stephen Strasburg's second rehab start will come Friday at Class A Potomac in suburban Washington D.C., Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports.

Strasburg made his first start on Sunday in Hagerstown, Md., striking out four and allowing three hits in 1 2/3 innings. He'll face Myrtle Beach on Friday, the high Class A team for the Rangers. He is scheduled to throw three innings or 50 pitches. It'll also afford a possible Strasburg-Strausborger matchup against Pelicans outfielder Ryan Strausborger, who is hitting .270/.342/.427 with eight homers this season in Myrtle Beach.

Strasburg will then throw four innings and 60 pitches in his next start after Friday, manager Davey Johnson told reporters.

"We're just looking for him to build up arm strength, build up stamina," general manager Mike Rizzo told Kilgore. "We will monitor the recovery. That's what this is all about."

In anticipation of Strasmas, the Potomac Nationals announced Pfitzner Stadium will open at 5 p.m. for the 7:05 p.m. start and the first 2,000 fans will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win Strasburg's autographed jersey.

Potomac is in Woodbridge, Va., about 20 miles from Nationals Park. Strasburg skipped Potomac last season in his rise to the big leagues, as did top prospect Bryce Harper this season.

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 5:20 pm

Yankees-Red Sox games draw in viewers

Dustin PedroiaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

You want to know why every time the Red Sox and Yankees play it's on national TV? Because people watch.

We in flyover country may be sick of the Yankees and Sox, but more people watch New York and Boston than any other matchup. According to a press release from MLB, a lot of people watched the Red Sox take two out of three from the Yankees in their weekend showdown.

The evidence:

• Friday's MLB Network game was the network's highest-rated game of the season, averaging 563,000 viewers, the second-highest mark in network history behind Stephen Strasburg's debut last season. The game helped MLB Network achieve its highest primetime audience ever -- even though the game was blacked out in Boston and New York home television markets.

• Saturday's Fox broadcast was its most-watched non-prime regular-season MLB telecast in more than three years with 4.10 million average viewers. That's with some of the country getting the Phillies and Giants. The last regular-season non-prime telecast to record higher numbers was a on July 5, 2008, when Fox showed the Yankees-Red Sox and Cubs-Cardinals. Fox also announced viewership is up 5 percent over last season.

• Sunday's ESPN telecast was its most-watched game in more than four years with 4.72 million average viewers, it's largest since June 3, 2007, for a -- you guessed it -- Red Sox and Yankees game. ESPN said its viewership is up 9 percent from last season.

So while many of us would like to see different teams on the national telecasts and are sick of hearing about the Yankees and Red Sox (not to mention the four-hour 9-inning games), the networks are going to keep showing them because people watch and they're in the business of getting viewers, not showing the best games or improving the MLB brand.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 7:46 pm

Strasburg's next start likely on Friday

Stephen StrasburgBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Stephen Strasburg will pitch again on Friday, the Nationals hope, but where he'll do it is still up in the air, the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore reports.

Strasburg is expected to throw a side session in Washington on Tuesday and if all goes well, he'll stay on rotation, pitching every five days.

Kilgore speculates Strasburg's next start will be at Class A Potomac in Woodbridge, Va. Strasburg started at low Class A Hagerstown on Sunday, striking out four and allowing three hits in 1 2/3 innings. The Suns are on the road on Friday, while the Potomac Nationals are at home. Also at home is Double-A Harrisburg, but that would be a pretty big leap this early in Strasburg's rehab.

What makes this more interesting is that the Nationals had been publicly unhappy with the ownership at Potomac and its facilities at Pfitzner Stadium, even skipping top prospect Bryce Harper over high Class A and straight to Double-A in what many has seen as a way to send a message to the ownership.

According to the Post, Prince William County officials approved a measure to improve the field. Minor League Baseball director Mark Scilabba sent a letter to Major League Baseball earlier this year that called the playing field "substandard."

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