Spring training! Hope springs anew. Even for the Washington Nationals, last place though they were last year. They stocked up on promising young pitchers and signed the aging future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez to catch them. And the pitching phenomenon Steven Strasburg they drafted looks amazing, though he will start in the minors, as is right and fitting. Here is an account of his first outing:
Facing a collection of Nationals players likely to start the year in Class AA and AAA, Strasburg struck out nine and allowed a bloop single, three walks and no runs in 4 1/3 innings. He threw 79 pitches; batters hit two of them into the outfield and swung and missed at 11.
The third batter of the game, outfielder Marvin Lowrance, watched the second pitch Strasburg threw him, a 90-mph change-up that started below his belt and dove down to his knees. The umpire called a strike. Lowrance turned around to catcher Sean Rooney and asked, “What was that?”
A 90 mph change-up? What was that, indeed? Anyway, what I’d like to know from you fellow baseball fans around America is how YOUR team is shaping up during Spring Training. I’d like to hear about the Brewers, the Cardinals, the Cubs, the Royals, and as many others as I can.