Nationals first-round draft pick Stephen Strasburg said he has no problem with the team taking a go-it-slow approach with his development, despite pleas from some fans to have him join the rotation as soon as possible.
“I really don’t think the organization wants to rush me or are going to,” the former San Diego State pitcher said during an appearance on ESPN980’s the “Sports Fix,” Tuesday. “They want me to just gradually transition from college because it is a little different pitching every five days. I’m just comfortable doing whatever they want me to do, and I know that when they think the time is right, I’m going to get my shot.”
Strasburg arrived Saturday evening in Viera, Fla. where he is expected to pitch in the Florida Instructional League. He will work out with the major league club this weekend and is scheduled to appear next month in the Arizona Fall League. Team officials said they have no intention of bringing him up to the major league level, despite the Nationals signing him to a $15 million contract that set a record for a newly drafted player.
“I know I’ve got a lot to learn and I’m just going to take it one day at a time and just learn as much as I can,” Strasburg said. “It’s not about how fast you get up there, it’s about how long you’re up there for. There’s a lot of guys who get rushed up there and their careers get cut short for some reason. I just want to come there ready and help the Nationals win some ballgames when that time comes.”
Strasburg’s contract, coupled with his reputation as a one-of-a-kind fireballer with a good work ethic, has led to widespread attention from reporters, some of whom traveled to Viera to see him work out on Sunday. The pitcher had expressed some mild discomfort at the attention given to his arrival in Florida, but insisted Tuesday that he has no problem with the reporters.
“I was just really joking around with them,” Strasburg said. “Obviously, they take their job real seriously and if they want to come out and watch me play catch for 10 minutes that’s fine. But either way, I’m going to get my work in whether there’s media there or not.”