Strasburg retired the first 12 batters he faced in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Astros, finishing the outing having given up one run on two hits over five innings. He struck out four. He'd last pitched in a bullpen session last Wednesday, so Strasburg was well rested heading into this one. The right-hander has a 7:1 K:BB through 6.1 spring innings, and if he remains on a five-day schedule from here on out, he'd be set up to take the hill against the Mets on Opening Day -- perhaps a sign the Nats don't feel Max Scherzer (side) will be ready for that assignment.
Strasburg threw 53 pitches over three simulated innings in a bullpen session Wednesday, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports. The right-hander is staying on a five-day schedule during spring training, requiring him to toss a bullpen on the Nats' off day rather than making a Grapefruit League start a day late Thursday. If he stays on that routine, Strasburg could toss a bullpen again Monday -- another off day for the club -- before seeing game action again Mar. 14 against the Tigers.
Strasburg struck out two of the first three batters he faced Saturday in his first Grapefruit League start before running out of steam, Sam Fortier of The Washington Post reports. The right-hander's final line -- three runs on three hits in 1.1 innings against the Rays -- wasn't impressive, but Strasburg tossed 35 pitches and was generally pleased with the movement on his offspeed offerings. He also believes he spotted a minor mechanical flaw in his delivery which he'll iron out between starts. Strasburg is coming off career highs in wins (18) and strikeouts (251) plus a dominant postseason performance and has a seven-year, $245 contract in his pocket, so expectations for the 31-year-old heading into 2020 may be higher than they've been since he was a mega-hyped rookie. Strasburg has matured significantly since then, however, and his ability to stay healthy could be only thing standing between him and another Cy Young-worthy campaign.
Strasburg agreed to a deal to return to the Nationals on Monday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Strasburg will make $245 million over the course of seven years, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports. The deal potentially means the 2009 first overall pick will remain in Washington for the entirety of his career. Heading into his age-31 season, Strasburg doesn't look to be slowing down, as he posted a 3.32 ERA in 33 regular-season starts last year and followed that up with a stellar 1.98 ERA over 36.1 postseason innings.
Strasburg rejected his qualifying offer from the Nationals on Thursday, making him a free agent, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports. Strasburg opted out of the final four years and $100 million of his deal with the Nationals earlier in November, so his decision to reject the qualifying offer was expected. The 31-year-old should have a big market in free agency after recording a 3.32 ERA during the regular season and being named the World Series MVP.
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