Strasburg in Buffalo, 2.0
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • August 29, 2011 @ 1:38pm
(Edit: Washington Nationals’ MLB.com writer Bill Ladson tweeted on Sunday that Strasburg would start in Buffalo, but now the details are murky. Official announcement will come later today.)
Vivid memories endure from Stephen Strasburg’s last outing in Buffalo. On June 3, 2010, MLB’s most hyped prospect in history befuddled the Bisons with an arsenal of pitches well-beyond his years, throwing five scoreless innings and fanning five. There were moments where Strasburg seemed to toy with hitters, mixing off-speed pitches to keep them off-balance before cruelly returning them to the dugout with a high-90s fastball. You still got the feeling though, that he wasn’t really trying, that there was even more he could do to embarrass Bison hitters.
Tommy John surgery, a pitcher’s worst enemy, derailed Strasburg’s major league career last September. Whispers surfaced about an unsustainable pitching motion—one that put undue stress on his throwing elbow and shoulder—and the Nationals’ top prospect faced a long process to heal and correct his flaws.
Fast forward to Thursday, when Strasburg returns to Coca-Cola Field for his sixth rehab start, and probably his last in the minors before a promotion. After a few blips at A ball, Strasburg pieced together a gem on Saturday for Syracuse, striking out seven batters over five innings and allowing only a single run. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m. at Coca-Cola Field— tickets are available here.
Strasburg went 5-3 in 12 starts with the Nationals last year. He struck out 92 in 68 innings, tacking on a 2.91 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. Will he face a return like Francisco Liriano’s? Or will he not miss a beat?