We finally know when Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg will make his much-anticipated return to the big leagues. On Tuesday Washington manager Davey Johnson confirmed that he had the young righty penciled in as his starter on Sept. 6 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Strasburg will make one more minor league start, this Thursday for Double-A Harrisburg, and if all goes well his next start will be with the big club. The No. 1 pick from the 2009 MLB Draft has had a remarkable recovery from Tommy John surgery. It has been about a year since he underwent surgery (Sept. 4, 2010) and he is reportedly lighting up radar guns once again.
During his last rehab start with Triple-A Syracuse, Strasburg hit 98 on the gun while striking out seven in five innings. He allowed just one earned run on two hits, while walking none in that game.
Last year, Strasburg was a revelation for the Nationals. He burst onto the scene and went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts. In 68 innings he had 92 strikeouts, while allowing just 25 runs, 56 hits and 17 walks.
Strasburg has reportedly not been using his curveball consistently yet as a precaution, but he feels like that will come along eventually. His current focus is pounding the zone with his fastball, and mixing in his change-up. Obviously the fastball is his money pitch anyway, so he’ll be working almost exclusively off of that for now.
The plan is for Strasburg to remain in the rotation once he rejoins the Nats next week. He will likely make four or five starts before the end of the season. Though they’ve said they don’t want to rush him back to the bigs, the Nationals clearly want to trot Strasburg out at the end of this year to help build fan interest and momentum for next season.