Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, Start Two: What "They're" Saying.

Washington Nationals' right-hander Stephen Strasburg ended his three-inning outing Sunday afternoon with a total 5.0 scoreless innings pitched in 2 starts this Spring over which he's K'd 4, walked 1 and allowed 4 hits, two of them in the first frame of today's game against the St. Louis Cardinals...

• After back-to-back 1-3 putouts on grounders back to the mound from Cards' regulars Skip Schumacher and Felipe Lopez, Strasburg, the no.1 prospect in the Nationals' organization, surrendered a two-out single to the 7th-best prospect in the Cardinals' (according to Baseball America's 2010 rankings) Allen Craig, a 25-year-old IF/OF who hit .322 with 26 HR's and 26 doubles in 122 games last year at Triple-A Memphis in the St. Louis' system. A passed ball with Cardinals' center fielder Colby Rasmus at bat allowed Craig to take second, and a two-out walk gave the 5th overall Cards' prospect David Freese a shot at Strasburg, who dropped a 2-2 curve in over Freese's bat for a swinging K and what was then Strasburg's third scoreless Grapefruit League inning pitched...

After The JUMP...Innings 2-3, and What "They're" Saying About Strasburg's Second Spring Start....

• The second inning started with the Nationals' 21-year-old future ace throwing another pitch by catcher Wil Nieves, and then giving up a leadoff single to 27-year-old outfielder Nick Stavinoha, but Yadier Molina got the cold-hearted 80 mph 0-2 curve from Strasburg for a called strike three, and outfielder Joe Mather sent a grounder out to third for Ryan Zimmerman, who started the 5-4-3 DP with a throw to Adam Kennedy and on to Adam Dunn for 2.0 scoreless innings pitched by the Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick. 

Tyler Greene popped a full-count pitch out to Adam Dunn in foul territory off first. Skip Schumaker sent a weak grounder out to Adam Kennedy and former Nationals' infielder Felipe Lopez sent a swinging bunt back to Strasburg who threw to first to end his third scoreless. Six grounders, one fly ball out, two K's, 49 pitches to 11 batters, 28 strikes, 7 first pitch strikes, 6 ground outs, 1 pop fly...

• What "They're" Saying...

In an article at the Cardinals' official MLB site, Tim Walters quoted St. Louis' miracle-working Pitching Coach Dave Duncan offering advice to the Nationals' top prospect:

"'Oftentimes, when you get that kind of attention, a lot of people kind of want to put their hands on you, and I think it's the responsibility of the pitching coach to let him know the pitfalls that are out there," Duncan said. "I've read some stuff that he has said, and it sounds like to me like he has his head on pretty good. I think he's probably aware of the potential dangers that are out there.'"

Tony LaRussa, who's headed into his 15th MLB season at the helm in St. Louis, talked to the Nationals' beat writer, MLB.com's Bill Ladson for an article entitled, "Strasburg fans two in three scoreless", where the former major league infielder is quoted stating that Strasburg's "very special":

"'Every bit that's been said about him or written about him, they got it all right. Very special. A lot of guys throw 96. It's where he's throwing it. It's all where it should be, because he's got it all.'"

MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling quoted Strasburg critiquing himself in an article entitled, "Nats vs. Cardinals: Post-game thoughts", where the 21-year-old right-hander says he's, "...just getting more comfortable out there,":

"'I'm still trying to get my mechanics back from having an offseason. I learned a few things out there again. I'm just trying to keep progressing."

Nationals' catcher Wil Nieves liked what he saw from Washington's future ace, as he told MLB.com's Bill Ladson Sunday night in an article entitled, "Strasburg, Nieves becoming capital duo", where the 32-year-old catcher, who's impressed with what he's seen from the Nationals' top prospect, describes what it is he believes caused the first-year pro's early struggles with his control in the first inning on Sunday:

"'He was opening up a little bit. He was cutting everything,' Nieves said. 'I don't know if it was the wind factor. It was pretty bad. His breaking stuff wasn't breaking like it usually does, but then he made an adjustment.'"

And the quote everyone in NatsTown was discussing last night, DC GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson back in the article entitled, "Strasburg fans two in three scoreless", that the $15.1M dollar starter's Opening Day role will not be determined by the young pitcher's arbitration clock:

"'Starting the clock has nothing to do with it,' Rizzo said. 'It's the development of the player -- for the long term success of him and for the franchise. When you are trying to win ballgames, the arbitration clock doesn't enter a general manager's mind.'"

Will Strasburg make another start with the big league club? No announcement yet...

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