- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2009

STRASBURG WATCH

Providing your weekly dose of updates on San Diego State right-hander (and presumptive Nationals No. 1 pick) Stephen Strasburg:

The chosen one is human after all. That is, if you consider seven innings of two-run, 15-strikeout ball human. If Strasburg did that in a Nationals uniform, it would be considered the best start in franchise history. But at San Diego State, that goes down as his biggest disappointment of the year. Facing ACC champion Virginia in regional play at NCAA tournament, Strasburg surrendered a first-inning homer, then gave up another run in the second before settling down. His teammates provided little run support, so he was tagged with a 5-1 loss, his first of the season. “Everybody had the jitters,” Strasburg said. “It was our first time being in a regional. I was pretty excited to be out there.” Get used to the pressure, kid.

Season stats: 13-1, 1.32 ERA, 109 innings, 65 hits, 19 walks, 195 strikeouts

MINOR LEAGUE WATCH

This is an important season for Jack McGeary, the highly touted left-hander who — after trying his hand at being both a Stanford student and a Nationals farmhand last season — decided to skip the spring quarter this year and pitch a full season in the minors. The 20-year-old isn’t off to a rousing start, though. In nine outings with low-Class A Hagerstown, McGeary is 0-4 with a 6.53 ERA. More disturbing is his ridiculously high walk rate: 29 free passes in only 40 innings. The organization’s sixth-round pick in 2007 obviously is a long-term project, so there’s no immediate concern. But he’s going to need to make some serious strides this summer if he’s going to progress at the rate the Nationals prefer.

THE BUZZ

Tracking the Nationals’ news and trends from the past week:

CUTTING YOUR LOSSES [UP]

Team decides to pay Daniel Cabrera $2.6 million NOT to pitch

JESUS FLORES [DOWN]

If he’s out for any length of time, the Nationals are in serious trouble

LARRY VANOVER [DOWN]

Ump who made two questionable replay calls shouldn’t expect a Christmas card from Acta

PITCHING LOOK-ALIKES [UP]

MacDougal bears striking resemblance to Balester; ideally he pitches better

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