March 20, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) during the spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
Both WTOP's Craig Heist and MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported this morning that 23-year-old Washington Nationals' right-hander Stephen Strasburg will be the Opening Day starter when the Nats visit the Chicago Cubs on April 5th. Nationals' manager Davey Johnson announced the news this morning, telling reporters (as quoted on Twitter by NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman @MarkZuckerman), "I like to put my best foot forward from the get-go."
Johnson had previously hinted during an interview this winter with ESPN980's Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro that barring an especially cold afternoon in Chicago's Wrigley Field, the 6'4'', 220lb Strasburg would be the Opening Day starter when the Nationals start the 2012 campaign. In his own interview with Mr.'s Loverro and Sheehan earlier this month, Strasburg said it wasn't a big concern for him. "I've said this a couple times," Strasburg explained, "It really doesn't matter. Obviously it would be a huge honor, but I'm more focused on how we finish the season and not necessarily how we start it."
Strasburg, barring any changes, setbacks or hiccups, will become the fifth different Opening Day starter since the Nationals returned to the nation's capital in 2005, joining Livan Hernandez (3), John Patterson, Odalis Perez and John Lannan (2). As Davey Johnson explained to reporters this morning (as quoted on Twitter by MASN's Dan Kolko (@DanKolko) the decision to go with Strasburg was an easy one, "... Very easy. He's my opening say starter."