Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Davey Johnson Names Stephen Strasburg Opening Day Starter

USA TODAY Sports

Not much of a surprise, but Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson made it official this morning when he told reporters that Stephen Strasburg would be the Nats' Opening Day starter when they take on the Miami Marlins in Game 1 of 162 on April 1st in Washington, D.C.

Reporters apparently "pried" it out of him, but Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson reluctantly admitted that 24-year-old Nats' ace Stephen Strasburg will be the Opening Day starter when the Nats welcome the Miami Marlins to the nation's capital on April 1st. "'I guess you want me to say it,'" Johnson told reporters including CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman, "'He's going to be my Opening Day starter. You drug it out of me.'"

Three years into his pro career, the Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick has faced the Marlins more than any other team. In nine starts and 48.1 IP, Strasburg has a 3.17 ERA, 14 walks (2.61 BB/9) and 48 Ks (8.94 K/9) against the Nats' NL East rivals. One Fish, in particular, has given the Nationals' starter trouble, and he has ridiculous numbers in Washington, D.C. too. Giancarlo Stanton. In 14 plate appearances, Stanton's 5 for 13 vs Stras, with three doubles and a home run. Stanton's #'s in Nationals Park are kind of ridiculous too: 31 for 80, .388/.451/.913 (that is not a typo), with nine doubles, 11 HRs and 20 RBIs in 20 games. Seriously. It should probably come as no surprise then, that asked this morning on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning who his toughest opponent was, Strasburg singled out Stanton.

"I’m really not scared of anybody," Strasburg said, "But I think a guy who would say he’s had pretty good success early on is probably (Miami’s) Giancarlo Stanton. He’s got a lot of power, but, you know what? I throw it pretty hard too, so let’s see how far he could hit it." Strasburg's not afeared. Check out the rest of Strasburg's interview on ESPN Radio HERE. Now on to the links and lots of them... starting... RIGHT NOW!!!

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

AUDIO: "Buster Olney talks to Nats' GM Mike Rizzo about Stephen Strasburg and ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes about David Ortiz' health. Plus, Jerry Crasnick on the atmosphere at the WBC." AUDIO: "Baseball Tonight" - ESPN

• NATS BEAT:

• "Yes, [Davey Johnson] finally said, [Stephen] Strasburg will take the mound at Nationals Park on April 1 against the Miami Marlins." - "Stephen Strasburg named Nationals’ opening day starter" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "The announcement was mere formality, [Stephen] Strasburg the unquestioned ace of a Nationals’ staff filled with talent, and Johnson was reluctant to make it official with still more than two weeks to go before Opening Day..." - "Stephen Strasburg named Nationals' Opening Day starter" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Manager Davey Johnson finally made the announcement today at the friendly prodding of reporters." - "Nationals Pastime: Stephen Strasburg named Nats' opening day starter" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'I guess you want me to say it,' the 70-year-old manager said. 'He's going to be my Opening Day starter. You drug it out of me.'" - "Strasburg officially starting Opening Day" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Washington

• "Manager Davey Johnson announced Wednesday morning that right-hander Stephen Strasburg will be the Nationals' Opening Day starter against the Marlins on April 1." - "Stephen Strasburg named Nationals' Opening Day starter" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Miami New Times won’t hand over documents to Major League Baseball relating to the now-defunct anti-aging clinic allegedly tied to current major leaguers..." - "Miami New Times won’t hand over Biogenesis records to MLB" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "The Miami New Times announced on Tuesday that the newspaper has decided not to turn the records it obtained in their investigation of Biogenesis over to Major League Baseball." - "Miami New Times decides not to turn Biogenesis records over to MLB" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "A guy who sometimes has issues with pitch counts ratcheting up quickly, [Gio] Gonzalez threw just 69 pitches in his five innings, 48 of which were strikes." - "Nationals Pastime: Gonzalez leads Team USA to WBC win over Puerto Rico" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Gio Gonzalez came home and pitched precisely as advertised for Team USA on Tuesday night in the second round of the World Baseball Classic." - "United States tops Puerto Rico in Gio Gonzalez's dominant homecoming" - Barry M. Bloom, nationals.com: News

• "Pitching in front of a hometown Miami crowd, [Gio] Gonzalez was as good as manager Joe Torre and the rest of Team USA could’ve hoped when it tabbed the Nationals’ 21-game winner for their rotation." - "Gio Gonzalez throws five scoreless innings in Team USA win" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Whether or not you think the World Baseball Classic is a worthwhile event, there absolutely is value to it." - "What Gio Gonzalez, Ross Detwiler learned from the WBC" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• VIDEO: Gio vs Puerto Rico:


• "VIDEO: Do they need a lefty specialist?" - NatsInsider.com

• "[Jayson] Werth has been told by doctors that it will take 18 months for his wrist to be back to its pre-injury form. He returned to the Nats lineup last summer just three months after suffering the injury..." - "Nationals Pastime: Werth talks tracking pitches, improved strength in wrist" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "There's more to Werth than just his beard. After signing a seven-year, $126 million contract with Washington, Werth has proven to be a influential player on and off the field." - "Outfielder Jayson Werth grows into a leadership role for the Nationals" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "This week, I will have some updates of a few of the pitchers in the camp, starting with A.J. Cole, Taylor Jordan and Brad Meyers." - "Nationals prospect updates on pitchers Cole, Jordan and Meyers" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Ian] Desmond told himself, at one point this offseason, that he didn’t want to strike out over 100 times again and that he was capable of doing better." - "Ian Desmond on his more aggressive hitting approach this season" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "'It’s been incredible,' [Ross Detwiler] said, a green rubber bracelet on his wrist displaying support for U.S. troops. "It’s a dream come true to play for your country.'" - "Ross Detwiler takes pride in representing U.S." - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "When assessing where the Nationals are at this point in spring, one thing is very clear: This first month of spring training has gone about as well as Johnson and general manager Mike Rizzo could have hoped." - "Nationals Pastime: Not many negatives to be found during Nats' first month in Viera" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Matt] Skole, a 2011 fifth-round pick out of Georgia Tech, is the Nationals’ reigning minor league player of the year, a distinction he earned for a torrid-hitting campaign in Class Hagerstown and Potomac." - "Matt Skole drawing attention in Nationals camp" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "When Stephen Strasburg returned to a major league mound with five scoreless innings of two-hit ball on Sept. 6, 2011 following a year away after major elbow surgery, Wilson Ramos was his catcher." - "Wilson Ramos Feels Like He’s ‘On the Team Again’" - David Elfin, CBS DC

• "The lefty [Gio] Gonzalez is a quirky emotional sort who was traded far too often early in his big-league career considering his considerable talents before settling in as a star with the Washington Nationals last year." - "Local hero Gio, from nearby Hialeah, lives his dream with gem for USA" - Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com

• "Last season Harper came up in late April and played the remainder of the season. Playing essentially a full season at 19 isn't unique, but it is unusual." - "Projecting Bryce Harper's season is a unique task." - Matthew Kory, SportsonEarth.com

• "In this instance, I'll cite a move the Nats didn't make: They saw no need to add a second lefty out of the bullpen. And that's a good thing, as it gives them roster flexibility elsewhere." - "2013 Team Preview: Washington Nationals" - Dayn Perry, CBSSports.com

• "Washington Nationals Rotation: Depth Chart Discussions" - Dan Wade, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

• "Stephen Strasburg will be the starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals on opening day, manager Davey Johnson told reporters Tuesday." - "Nationals name Stephen Strasburg opening day starter" - Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com

• "Natstown had to suffer through some reliever identity issues early in 2012, but that doesn’t appear it will be the case in 2013." - "Nationals Bullpen: Depth Chart Discussions" - Colin Zarzycki, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

• NATSTOWN:

• "Spring Training Thoughts, Redux" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• "Gio Gonzalez gave Ross Detwiler this USA StickBallBoy t-shirt" - Nats Enquirer

• "Pitcher Wins on the Free Agency Market; an analysis" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "March 13 - Senators Birthdays: Bruno Block (Born James John Blochowicz) B Mar. 13, 1885 D Aug. 6, 1937" - "This Date in Washington Senators History" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "The Nats star left-handed pitcher, All-Star Gio Gonzalez, made his fourth start of the spring, only this time it was in service for his country, as he started for Team USA against Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic." - "Washington Nationals Spring Training: Gio dominant in five innings at WBC" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Video: Gio's scoreless start for Team USA" - Nats Enquirer

• "In what may end up being the least surprising news of the spring, Davey Johnson made it official today- he plans on sending out Stephen Strasburg as his starting pitcher on Opening Day." - "Opening Day Starter, Take 2" - Kevin Eaton, Red Porch Report (Nationals Podcast and Blog)

• "USA and Gio Get a Win" - The Nationals Review

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "For the most part, the Mets have downplayed immediate expectations for Matt Harvey." - "New York Mets minor league pitching coach Frank Viola compares Matt Harvey’s on-field demeanor to Roger Clemens’" - Dan Martin, NYPOST.com

Braves: "Evan Gattis continued his spring pillaging Tuesday when the Braves bench candidate went 2-for-2 with two doubles and three RBIs in a 12-3 win against St. Louis." - "Gattis keeps slugging in bid for Braves bench job" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

Phillies: "Want to know how it feels to stand in front of a future Hall of Famer and question every word that he is saying? It sucks." -"Phillies' Roy Halladay says he's OK, but you have to wonder" - David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News

Marlins: "The rarity on his resume — only one other player has done it on his first pitch — means nothing in Kouzmanoff's bid to earn a spot on the Miami Marlins' bench." - "Marlins: Kouzmanoff offers power in quest for bench role" - Craig Davis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

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