- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WASHINGTON | Stephen Strausburg says he’s not feeling snubbed.

The Washington Nationals rookie pitcher said Tuesday he understands why he was left off the All-Star team and that he isn’t ready for the midsummer classic yet.

“You look at the guys who are going to the All-Star Game and the years that they’ve had — and they’ve done that since opening day,” Strasburg said in his first comments since the All-Star selections were announced Sunday. “I haven’t been here since opening day. They deserve it. Hopefully, someday I’ll deserve it, too.”

Strasburg said he didn’t expect to make the NL squad and that it’s far more important for him to help build the Nationals into a contender.

“I never felt like it was really going to happen, so I didn’t put that much thought into it,” he said. “Right now, you know, I’d rather take this team to a World Series rather than making an All-Star team.”

The 21-year-old Strasburg, the first overall pick in last June’s amateur draft who signed a record $15.1 million contract, is 2-2 with a 2.45 ERA in six starts. He has struck out 53 and walked eight in 36 2-3 innings.

Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who will skipper the NL stars in next Tuesday’s game in Anaheim, Calif., would have had to pick Strasburg for the team.

But such a small body of work made it tough for Manuel to make that choice.

“Obviously, only having six starts over here, it really didn’t matter what I was going to do,” Strasburg said. “I really didn’t feel like I was qualified to make the team, No. 1, based on how much experience I have. I’m sure I’ll have opportunities somewhere down the road. Right now, it was never a goal of mine.”

That’s not to say that he wouldn’t have relished the opportunity to participate in the All-Star Game.

“It’s going to be nice to have a little break. But if it were taking a break or going to the All-Star Game, it obviously would have been a lot better to go (to Anaheim) and pitch. But I’m just not ready for it this year,” Strasburg said.