Stephen Strasburg heavy on strikes in spring training debut

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Stephen Strasburg pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut for Washington, but Phil Gosselin took advantage of Nationals rookie manager Matt Williams‘ unusual defensive shift in the eighth inning to give the Atlanta Braves an 8-4 victory Tuesday.

Coming off October surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, Strasburg allowed one hit and needed only 15 pitches, 11 of them strikes, in his two innings. Justin Upton singled with one out in the second inning, but was erased on a double play.


SEE ALSO: Sorting through Nationals’ options for No. 5 starter


“He could have gone another [inning], but we didn’t want to push him,” Williams said.

Said Strasburg: “I feel good. I threw some off-speed pitches and got some good results.”

Strasburg has added a slider to go with his curveball, and he threw three against the Braves, including one that B.J. Upton swung through in the first inning for a strikeout.

“I want it to look like a fastball as much as possible,” Strasburg said. “I’m not going to dump my other off-speed stuff, but I don’t want them to be able to cheat on the fastball as much.”

Washington’s Ian Desmond was 3 for 3 with a homer, double and stolen base. The first-inning double was the only hit in three innings off Braves starter Kris Medlen, who walked one and struck out three.

The Braves pulled away late when Gosselin hit a bases-loaded triple to a vacated right field after Williams had ordered a five-man infield with one out and a tie game. The Braves added a fourth run in the inning and won for the first time in eight games this spring.

“We figured we’d try it,” Williams said of the defensive ploy. “It’s one of our plays in case we need it.”

Gosselin, primarily a second baseman, was up briefly with the Braves last year, going 2 for 6 in four games. He is expected to start this season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

“I wish they would take a defender off all the time,” Gosselin said. “I’d seen it before in college, but I was a little surprised when they did it. The catcher said it was something they had been working on.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player