Davey Martinez liked what he saw from Stephen Strasburg in the right-hander’s first bullpen session of the Spring earlier this month. Strasburg struggled with injuries last season which limited him to 22 starts, over which he went (10-7) with a 3.74 ERA, a 3.62 FIP, 38 walks (2.63 BB/9), 156 Ks (10.80 K/9), and a .240/.302/.409 line against in 130 IP.
“He looked great. Felt great.” Martinez told reporters after the first official bullpen of Spring Training a few weeks back.
“He looked like his body was under control,” the manager continued. “I mean, he worked diligently, he stayed in Washington this year and really worked on getting a little stronger, building some muscle.
“What I noticed today, his bullpen seemed like it was kind of effortless, and the ball was coming out really well, so that was a good sign.”
The Nationals’ second-year skipper said he watched Strasburg closely and the mechanics were sound for the 2009 No. 1 overall pick.
“Like I said, he looked like he was very much under control, and he looked like everything was effortless, head was where it needed to be, he was using his legs really well, and like I said, I stand behind him, when I look and see how smooth his mechanics [were] and what the ball is doing, and the ball was coming out really, really nice.”
Strasburg, whose velocity was down noticeably when he returned from his second stint on the recently-renamed Injury List to make eight starts down the stretch last September, was asked after that first bullpen session if he felt like his old self again this Spring.
“Old self?” Strasburg asked rhetorically. “I don’t really know like what that necessarily means, but I think mechanically I feel much better than I was at this point last year.
“It seemed like for some reason I was having a tough time being consistent with mechanics and executing. That’s seemed to come back pretty fast this time.”
Strasburg reportedly wanted to throw an additional live bullpen session before making his first start in Grapefruit League action, so he hasn’t made his 2019 debut until today, but he is starting this afternoon when the Nationals take on the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, FL’s Roger Dean Stadium.
It’s radio only via MLB’s At Bat app. And it’s the Marlins’ feed. But Strasburg is on the mound this afternoon...