Stephen Strasburg Impresses In Second Rehab Start In Potomac

Stephen Strasburg was impressive in his second rehab start for Potomac, striking out five and not allowing one ball out of the infield in a three-inning stint.

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Stephen Strasburg, A Birthday And Remembering Why We Love Baseball

Our Nationals' correspondent was set to celebrate a quiet 31st birthday by attending the Potomac Nationals' game on Friday. Then, Stephen Strasburg decided to drop in and show why he is the best present of all.

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Stephen Strasburg Rehab Start Looked Like Midseason Form, Though He Has Never Had A Midseason

Stephen Strasburg's second rehab start, at Class A Potomac Friday night, had Washington fans and media buzzing, and rightfully so. The fireballing young phenom threw 33 pitches in his three innings of work, 26 for strikes, and looked dominant on the mound against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. He looked so dominant that Spin Williams, the Nationals' minor league pitching coordinator, even had this to say:

Obviously, he looked like he was in midseason form.

Spin, that would make a lot more sense if, as Cindy Boren points out on twitter, Strasburg had ever had a midseason.

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Strasburg made his major league debut June 8 of 2010. He made twelve starts last year, totaling 68 innings, before leaving his August 21st with an arm injury that would lead to the announcement one week later that Strasburg needed Tommy John surgery for a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Not to nitpick, but to reiterate what Boren said, the kid wasn't even in the big leagues long enough to have a midseason.

If I may guess what Spin was trying to really get at, I think he means Strasburg is moving along quite well in his rehab, and the the young righty looks as good as he did last year when he burst on to the big league scene and was mowing down batters. And if that's what he meant, well then giddyup, I can't wait to see Strasburg back on the mound at Nationals Park in early September.

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VIDEO: Stephen Strasburg Highlights From Rehab Start In Potomac

Stephen Strasburg's second rehab start was probably even more impressive than his first. The Nationals' phenom struck out five hitters and didn't allow a single ball out of the infield in his three innings pitching for high Single-A Potomac on Friday night. The above video, via Comcast SportsNet, shows all of those strikeouts, as well as a couple of his other outs.

Strasburg made the media wait for almost two hours after he departed the game, only speaking when the game was over. Eventually, he expressed confidence that he is all the way back. Via Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington:

More Strasburg: "I know I'm going to be the pitcher I was. I probably think all the work I've been putting in is going to make me better."

It's not immediately clear when Strasburg will make his next start, but with the Nationals' desire to have him pitch in a home environment, it would have to be either at AAA-Syracuse or back at low-single-A Hagerstown.

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Stephen Strasburg Impressive At Potomac In Second Rehab Start

The Stephen Strasburg Rehab Tour had another successful stop, this time in Potomac for the Washington Nationals Class A affiliate. Strasburg pitched three innings against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, throwing 33 pitches in those frames, 26 for strikes. Reports indicated his velocity was in the high 90s all night, at times hitting 98 and 99mph. No balls left the infield against Strasburg, and he struck out five batters against no walks.

Strasburg struck out one batter in the first inning, and induced two ground ball outs, while hitting 98mph on the gun. He upped the ante, striking out two Pelicans batters in the second, one on a curveball on a night when he threw very few off speed pitches. He finished his evening with a dominant third, striking out two hitters and getting a groundball out on just eight pitches.

Nationals management has to be pleased with this outing, coming off Strasburg's first rehab start at Class A Hagerstown, in which the fireballing young righty threw 1 2/3 innings, striking out three while allowing one run. The team has yet to announce when and where his next rehab start will take place.

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Stephen Strasburg To Make Next Rehab Start At Single-A Potomac

Fresh off a two-inning performance in his first rehab start at low Single-A Hagerstown, Stephen Strasburg's next assignment will be to do the same one level up. The team has announced that Strasburg will make his next rehab start in Potomac, home of the Nationals' higher Single-A team.

Strasburg threw in a side session in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, and it was widely expected that Potomac would be the next move. He threw one and two-thirds innings in his first rehab start for Hagerstown on Sunday, striking out four while surrendering a home run. He felt good afterwards, so the decision was made to move him up one level and have him pitch for Potomac.

The Potomac Nationals will face the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at Pfitzner Stadium in Prince William County, Va. at 7:05 on Friday. The team has had issues with the field conditions at time this season, but obviously they aren't enough of a concern to have Strasburg skip the level.

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