The innings limit controversy overshadowed (at least in national coverage of the Washington Nationals) what Stephen Strasburg accomplished in his first full-year back from Tommy John surgery with the NL East Champion Nats last season. The 24-year-old '09 no.1 overall pick ended his 2012 campaign early, but before he was done, the right-hander won 15 of 28 starts, posted a 3.16 ERA, a 2.82 FIP, 48 walks (2.71 BB/9) and 197 Ks (11.13 K/9) in 159.1 innings pitched, over which he was worth +4.3 fWAR. Asked about what it was like to play a part in the Nationals' division title win and the rebirth of baseball in the nation's capital last year, Strasburg told XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego's Chris Ello and Ben Higgins in an interview this past Friday that it was a special year in D.C.:
Strasburg: "We have some of the best fans in the country there in D.C. A lot of them have stuck with us through thick and thin, and obviously last year was a huge year for the organization and we are definitely moving in the right direction. It’s so much more fun when you are playing in front of sell-out crowds every night."
The Nationals' hard-throwing, K-collecting, surly ace also said he's ready to get going again and looking forward to his fourth MLB campaign, especially after the longer-than-desired layoff that resulted from his season ending early last September. "The way I look at it," Strasburg said, "I just had an extra month of the offseason. I’m chomping at the bit right now." Watching all the moves the Nats have made to make another run this season has impressed Strasburg, who told the show's hosts that the success they're enjoying now is something the organization has been building towards:
Strasburg: "I think they showed a commitment a few years back, especially even when they first started, but nothing really is going to change overnight and it’s awesome having great guys in the clubhouse that I can really lean on to learn how to play the game the right way and just learn the winning mentality. It’s been great to establish ourselves last year, but now we just gotta keep building up that and we still can’t take any team lightly."
Strasburg held his 3rd Annual 5K Walk and Fun Run w/ San Diego State University Aztecs' coach Tony Gwynn this past Saturday with over 1,000 people turning out to help raise money for the SDSU baseball program that produced the Nationals' no.1 starter. Strasburg was on the radio to promote that event and he also did a YouTube spot which you can see below...
• Stephen Strasburg 5K w/ Tony Gwynn:
• LINKS/THANKS: Check out a transcript from our friends at SportsRadioInterviews.com HERE and you can listen to the full interview with XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego's Chris Ello and Ben Higgins HERE.
• Check out our Strasburg story from last week on what pitching with "no restrictions" really means for the 24-year-old righty in 2013.