Not even a direct question on a national television broadcast could draw the specific date Stephen Strasburg would make his MLB debut out of DC GM Mike Rizzo, who told ESPN SportCenter's achor John Buccigross during a phone-in interview live on the air that the Washington Nationals, "...have a particular plan in place for [Strasburg], and if all goes according to plan we have a variety of dates that it could happen. We know one thing, if he continues at the pace he's going, he's going to be in the major leagues in the very near future, and he's a guy that's going to be an impactful guy for us in the rotation. As far as a specific date, I can't give you one right now, I can't give you one right now because the developmental process is ongoing and we have a very strict, particular plan in place for him and we're going to follow it to the letter."
"How does Friday night June the 4th against the Reds sound to you, Mike?" Mr. Buccigross asked.
"Well, you know it's a possibility," Mr. Rizzo continued, "...there's several windows that it could take place..."
Rizzo wasn't cracking. The Nats' GM continued to explain that there were goals for the '09 no.1 overall pick's development which would ensure that he would arrive in the major leagues ready to stay. But as for a date on which Stephen Strasburg would make his MLB debut, all that Mr. Rizzo would say is that Strasburg's done, "...everything [the Nationals] have expected him to do from the beginning of Spring Training on...etc."
Only moments before the DC GM appeared on ESPN, the Nats' middle-of-the-order bat, Adam Dunn (who'd love to sign an extension) was on ESPN 980 in the nation's capital talking to The Sports Fix's Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro. When asked by Mr. Sheehan about all the Strasburg talk and, "...how much [the players] are paying attention to it?", Dunn responded that, "...it's hard not to, cause everyone in the world's talking about it," but the dominance Strasburg was showing in the minors, was in Dunn's words, "...what he's supposed to do." Until he arrives in DC, however it's what he's doing "down there".
So it's up to the pundits to sort this out. Pardon the Interruption,Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon have 2:00 minutes set aside on the clock, during which they're going to discuss the Strasburg situation and sort it out. Could Strasburg be as good as all the hype that's preceded his arrival in the major leagues? Mr. Kornheiser says Strasburg reminds him of David Clyde, the no.1 pick by the Rangers in the 1973 Draft who made just 73 professional starts after a highly anticipated debut, and was out of baseball by the time he'd turned 24, while Wilbon, with his oft-mentioned Chicago connection points out that Mark Prior was a sure thing, whose career we all witnessed, but let's hope Mr. Kornheiser concludes that he ends up more like, "...Ken Griffey, Jr., no.1 overall, Johnny Bench, no.1 overall where everybody said 'Wait til you see Johnny Bench,' and they were right, Tom Seaver..."
The only thing the Nationals did officially say about Stephen Strasburg yesterday is that he would get an extra day of before his next scheduled start in the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs' rotation on May 18th, with Washington Post writer Alexa Steele reporting in an Nationals Journal post entitled, that the decision was made, "...in accordance to the pitching plan laid out by Mike Rizzo and [Nats' Scouting and Pitching Advisor] Spin Williams." I think the more interesting question at this point is, "Who leaves the rotation to make room for Strasburg?" If it's a meritocracy it could be an interesting decision...There's a contingent in the FBB comment section who'd like to see Craig Stammen working the middle innings that no one can seem to lock down. Will John Lannan come back healthy after last night's start? How will his arm recover? Is Luis Atilano bullpen bound? But really, which game are you buying tickets for? I'm betting Strasburg starts...