Nationals' Strasburg makes pro debut

Updated: October 5, 2009, 10:35 PM ET
Associated Press

VIERA, Fla. -- Stephen Strasburg didn't put a lot of expectations on himself for his first time out as a professional pitcher.

He just wanted to get out there and throw again.

"It's something I love to do," the 21-year-old said Monday after making his first outing for the Washington Nationals in an Instructional League game against Detroit. "It's been a little tough."

The right-hander allowed one run and three hits in two innings, striking out two. He threw 19 of 25 pitches for strikes in his first game action since signing a record $15.1 million, four-year contract as the No. 1 pick in June's amateur draft.

Strasburg had not thrown competitively since his final game for San Diego State in the NCAA regionals on May 29. He reported to Viera last month and has been working on building up arm strength.

He threw mostly fastballs on Monday, mixing in an occasional curveball and sinker.

"I was just letting my arm get back into throwing," he said. "You don't want to go out there and rush it and immediately try to punch everybody out.

"I was out there pitching to contact, getting the feel of facing a batter. I didn't put any expectations on myself. Hopefully, next time out, I'm going to crank it up a little bit," he said.

Strasburg started out well enough, striking out Gustavo Nunez looking on an inside fastball, getting Luis Castillo on a fly ball to left and then striking out Audy Ciriaco swinging on a slider. All three of Detroit's hits came in the second inning, when Strasburg's arm was getting tired. But overall, everyone involved came away happy.

"I thought he threw the ball extremely well," Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams said. "He located the ball pretty good. Normally a kid that has his first professional outing is up in the zone and overthrowing, but he stayed within himself and did a nice job. He stayed composed, and I was very pleased."

Strasburg is scheduled to pitch again on Saturday in Kissimmee before reporting to the Arizona Fall League. He impressed Bob Boone, the Nationals assistant general manager and vice president of player development.

"You can see that he's special," Boone said. "It's just a matter of him getting as many innings as fast as he can and us being patient. I think that's going to be the hardest part for us."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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