Washington Nationals' right-hander Stephen Strasburg's 2012 season ended after 159.1 IP on September 7th, when the Nats' GM, manager and pitching coach decided the 24-year-old, '09 no.1 overall pick had reached his limit in the first full-year back following Tommy John surgery. Strasburg finished his third pro season with a 3.16 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 48 walks (2.71 BB/9) and 197 Ks (11.13 K/9) over 28 starts. When Nats' skipper Davey Johnson talked to reporters, including the New York Times' Tyler Kepner, at the Winter Meeting this past December, the 70-year-old manager he said he thought his surly starter would be ready to go in 2013. "'I think Strasburg is going to be elated that he has no restrictions,'" Johnson said. The innings limits are behind him, though the Nationals aren't likely to allow Strasburg to increase his workload more than they would any other pitcher in the organization.
In a recent interview with a San Diego, California-based radio station, Strasburg told XTRA Sports 1360's Chris Ello and Ben Higgins he was ready to go and excited to get started after a long layoff. "The way I look at it," Strasburg said, "I just had an extra month of the offseason. I’m [champing] at the bit right now." In an interview at the Nationals' Spring Training facilities this morning, Strasburg told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that he worked hard this winter to prepare for the 2013 campaign. Asked about what pitching with no restrictions meant to him, Strasburg said he was looking at it as an opportunity.
"It means it's going to be a great opportunity and hopefully a fun year," Strasburg said, "So I trained really hard this offseason, coming here knowing that 200-plus innings is a huge goal for me. So hopefully everything works out and I can do that and be the workhorse in the rotation." As for any lesson he might have learned from last season, Strasburg said simply, "It was exciting watching the playoffs from the bench, but I think it would be, well I know it's going to be a 100% better being out there on the field, so hopefully we can do it again this year and have an opportunity to pitch in front of a sell-out crowd like last year."
Nationals' pitchers and catchers officially report tomorrow, though a number of them are already in Viera, Florida as the 2013 season officially gets underway.
Stephen Strasburg wants to be a workhorse this year. espn.go.com/video/clip?id=…— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 11, 2013