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Strasburg shaky in return to mound for Nationals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Stephen Strasburg had a rocky return to the mound in his first outing since the Washington Nationals shut him down last September to protect his arm.

Strasburg gave up a single and a full-count homer to the first two batters he faced Saturday, and the New York Mets beat Washington 5-3 in a spring training opener.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis led off the Mets' first inning with a single and Ruben Tejada followed with a two-run shot that the wind carried over the left-center fence.

"It was a little bit of a debacle the first inning, but that's just what happens for me every spring training," Strasburg said. "It's just going to take a little while for me to get a little comfortable, a better rhythm out there. I was just glad I was able to get back feeling right in the second inning."

The right-hander rebounded with a 1-2-3 second inning. He was pitching in a game for the first time since Sept. 7 when the NL East champions shut him down for the season, rather than push his innings total.

Mets newcomer Shaun Marcum gave up four hits and three runs in two innings. Top prospect Zack Wheeler pitched two shutout innings.

Strasburg also gave up a two-out double to Marlon Byrd in the first but ended a 29-pitch inning by striking out Lucas Duda.

Strasburg allowed three hits in two innings. He struck out two, walked none and threw 24 of 42 pitches for strikes.

"I threw a couple good breaking balls in the second inning, and my fastball command got better and the sinker seemed to be working well," Strasburg said. "It was a good first outing."

Strasburg also gave up a home run in his 2012 spring training debut, to Chris Snyder, his batterymate Saturday.

"He settled down a little the second inning, dropped his pitches in, was effective and we'll go from there," Snyder said. "He's got good stuff. It's hard. The two-seamer has good stuff to it, and the curveball and changeup are both putaway pitches."

The Mets are similarly excited about Wheeler, who was impressive in relief of Marcum.

After Marcum gave up a two-run homer to Snyder in the second, Wheeler allowed just one hit and one walk while throwing 19 of 30 pitches for strikes.

"He's got a great arm," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I was impressed with his breaking ball. I'm sure he was a little geeked up going out there. The second inning he pounded the strike zone. That was great to see."

Wheeler had to work himself out of an early jam, though. After walking his first batter, he threw a wild pitch to Bryce Harper but got him on a groundout and then struck out the next two batters to strand a runner on third.

"It wasn't really nerves. I just was a little pumped up getting out there," said Wheeler, expected to begin the season at Triple-A Las Vegas. "After the first couple batters, I think everything went well. I was getting underneath my slider a little bit. It was backing up, but I still got some swings and misses from it."

Notes

  • With the score tied at 3, Collin Cowgill hit an RBI double in the sixth inning to drive in the go-ahead run for the Mets. Bobby Parnell closed the game with a shutout inning.
  • Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano has been diagnosed with a small hole in the exterior of his heart, but upon returning to camp Saturday morning, he said it is not life-threatening. The left-hander underwent an MRI in New York, where he was sent after an irregular heartbeat was discovered in his pre-camp physical. Feliciano will wear a heart monitor for a few days and has not been cleared to pitch.
  • Nationals pitcher Christian Garcia received a second opinion on his strained forearm, but the diagnosis remained the same. Manager Davey Johnson said he still doesn't believe the injury is severe.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Stephen Strasburg pitches in his first game since September 7 and gives up a homer in the first inning. (USATSI)
Stephen Strasburg pitches in his first game since September 7 and gives up a homer in the first inning. (USATSI)  

Players of the Game
New York

R. Tejada
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Washington

C. Snyder
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF2000000 .000
    Eury Perez, CF3010001 .333
Stephen Lombardozzi, 2B2000100 .000
    Will Rhymes, PR-2B2000000 .000
Bryce Harper, LF3010003 .333
    Corey Brown, LF2000023 .000
Tyler Moore, RF3000024 .000
    Carlos Rivero, RF2000002 .000
Chad Tracy, 3B3000023 .000
    Matt Skole, 3B0000100 .000
Ian Desmond, SS2110000 .500
    Zach Walters, SS2010010 .500
Chris Marrero, 1B3111000 .333
   a- Anthony Rendon, PH1000002 .000
Chris Snyder, C21220001.000
    Jhonatan Solano, C2000002 .000
Micah Owings, DH-1B4010001 .250
Totals3838327  
a-flied out for Davis in the 8th
Batting
2B - Chris Marrero (1, Marcum)
HR - Chris Snyder (1, Marcum)
RBI - Chris Marrero (1), Chris Snyder 2 (2)
SB - Eury Perez (1, 3rd base off Mazzoni/Powell), Will Rhymes (1, 2nd base off Mazzoni/Powell)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Walters-Rhymes-Owings, Rhymes-Walters-Owings
E - Micah Owings (1, Misplayed grounder), Chad Tracy (1, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Stephen Strasburg 2322011 9.00
Craig Stammen (BS,1) 2311010 4.50
Fernando Abad 1000210 0.00
Bill Bray (L,0-1) 1321110 9.00
Erik Davis 1000120 0.00
Cole Kimball 1000100 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Stephen Strasburg 16-0, Craig Stammen 12-0, Fernando Abad 13-0, Bill Bray 12-0, Erik Davis 11-0, Cole Kimball 6-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Stephen Strasburg 3-2, Craig Stammen 3-3, Bill Bray 2-0, Cole Kimball 2-0
Batters Faced - Stephen Strasburg 9, Craig Stammen 10, Fernando Abad 5, Bill Bray 7, Erik Davis 4, Cole Kimball 3
New York Mets
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF3110002 .333
    Collin Cowgill, CF11111001.000
Ruben Tejada, SS3112000 .333
    Omar Quintanilla, SS2000001 .000
David Wright, 3B3000000 .000
    Brandon Hicks, 3B0000100 .000
Ike Davis, 1B2000101 .000
    Zach Lutz, PR-1B1000012 .000
Marlon Byrd, RF21200001.000
   a- Andrew Brown, PH-LF1000110 .000
Lucas Duda, LF3000024 .000
    Mike Baxter, RF0000100 .000
John Buck, C2000011 .000
    Landon Powell, C2110011 .500
Justin Turner, 2B2010000 .500
    Brian Bixler, 2B2010001 .500
Jordany Valdespin, DH2011000 .500
   b- Jamie Hoffmann, PH-DH1000001 .000
   c- Reese Havens, PH-DH1000000 .000
Totals3359456  
a-walked for Byrd in the 5th
b-grounded into a double play for Valdespin in the 6th
c-grounded out for Hoffmann in the 8th
Batting
2B - Collin Cowgill (1, Bray), Marlon Byrd (1, Strasburg)
HR - Ruben Tejada (1, Strasburg)
RBI - Collin Cowgill (1), Ruben Tejada 2 (2), Jordany Valdespin (1)
2-OUT RBI - Collin Cowgill (1), Jordany Valdespin (1)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
PB - John Buck (1)
E - Brian Bixler (1, Throwing), Andrew Brown (1, Dropped line drive), Brandon Hicks (1, Misplayed grounder)
New York Mets
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Shaun Marcum 2433001 13.50
Zack Wheeler 2100120 0.00
Cory Mazzoni (W,1-0) 2100030 0.00
Darin Gorski (H,1) 2100110 0.00
Bobby Parnell (S,1) 1100010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Shaun Marcum 11-0, Zack Wheeler 16-0, Cory Mazzoni 14-0, Darin Gorski 14-0, Bobby Parnell 7-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shaun Marcum 2-4, Zack Wheeler 4-0, Cory Mazzoni 2-2, Darin Gorski 1-5, Bobby Parnell 2-1
Batters Faced - Shaun Marcum 10, Zack Wheeler 8, Cory Mazzoni 8, Darin Gorski 9, Bobby Parnell 5
Game Information
Attendance - 4616
Game Time - 3:05
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Mike Estabrook, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - UMP Nonindividual, Third Base - D.J. Reyburn