Each step along the way in the past year-plus for Stephen Strasburg has helped him reach one milestone or another in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. He can cross another one off the rehab checklist after going six strong innings against the Florida Marlins Saturday night.
Strasburg, who was just seen getting the handshakes and high fives in the dugout while Henry Rodriguez warmed in the bullpen, needed just 61 pitches to get through six, threw 45 of those pitches for strikes, gave up four hits struck out three and walked no one.
He threw his most pitches in the second inning (16) after a 13-pitch first but never threw more than 10 in an inning after that. In the third, ironically the inning he surrendered the Marlins lone run, Strasburg threw just eight pitches and not a single one was a ball.
Overall, Strasburg relied heavily on his fastball — which clocked in at 97, 98 and 99 mph in the first inning but then sat more in the 94-96 mph range throughout the evening. He threw just 13 off-speed pitches: eight changeups and five curveballs.
It was the first time since before his ulnar collateral ligament blew last August that he lasted through six full innings. In his second-to-last rehab start, in Triple-A Syracuse, Strasburg began the sixth inning but reached his pitch limit and surrendered his first hits of the night before departing mid-inning.