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Strong return for Strasburg

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It would appear Stephen Strasburg’s neck strain wasn’t a concern for the Nationals at all.

Making his first start in the Arizona Fall League today since suffering that minor injury 10 days ago, the top pitching prospect was back to his old self. He allowed one hit over 3 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out six and walking two.

The Nationals weren’t terribly worried about Strasburg. They had him miss his scheduled start in the AFL Rising Stars Game last Saturday more as a precaution than anything. Still, you never know for sure until you return to the mound. Well, we know now that he’s fine.

Strasburg’s 3 2/3 innings was less than you’d expect, but he threw 64 pitches (36 strikes) so that would explain it. The only hit he allowed was a third-inning double on a ball that was deflected by first baseman Brad Emaus, so even that had a chance to be an out.

This was Strasburg’s fifth (and possibly final) start of the AFL season. The regular season ends Thursday, with the league championship game next Saturday. The Phoenix Desert Dogs do have a chance to play in that game, though, and you’ve got to think Strasburg would get the nod if they get there.

His overall AFL numbers (3-1, 4.26 ERA) are a bit misleading, because seven of his nine earned runs came in one outing. Throw that one out, and in his remaining four starts, Strasburg is 3-0 with a 1.10 ERA. In 16 1/3 innings, he’s allowed eight hits and five walks while striking out 19.

As Larry David would say, that’s pretty good. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

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Mark Zuckerman

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