- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 7, 2009

Top Washington Nationals pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his scheduled start in Saturday’s Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game because of a neck strain.

Strasburg, the top pick in June’s draft, was slated to start the exhibition, which pits the best AFL prospects against one another and will be televised by MLB Network.

The Nationals said the decision to scratch Strasburg was precautionary. He woke up Wednesday with a stiff neck, then was examined Friday and diagnosed with a strained muscle. His status is day-to-day, and it has not been determined when he’ll make his next start. He last pitched Monday, allowing one run on four hits in five innings.

The right-hander, 21, has appeared in four games for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, dominating three of them. He’s 3-1 with a 5.28 ERA, but discounting a rough outing Oct. 22, he’s 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA and a 13-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Fellow Nationals right-hander Josh Wilkie was invited to take Strasburg’s roster spot for the game. Reliever Drew Storen, the 10th pick in June, already had been chosen to participate.