Gwynn On Strasburg
At Nationals Park, they're also trying to play a game tonight. Looks like it'll happen, too. Just about 10 minutes ago, groundskeepers started removing the tarp. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:50 p.m.
Meantime, here is what SDSU coach Tony Gwynn said about Stephen Strasburg.
(On Strasburg's contract negotiations.) I hope the signing process goes quickly, because I think the kid wants to play. He wants to be a big league pitcher. And I hope he can get this thing done so he can go to work, because I know that's what he really wants to do.
(On whether he is major league ready.) Nobody is major league ready right now. If they put him out there he'll be able to compete because, like I said, he's got this baseball savvy. He knows hitters are going to be trying to make a point -- he knows major leaguers especially are going to be trying to make a point, letting him know how difficult it is to be successful at the big league level. If he is able to get there before the year is out I think he'll compete. I still think there are lessons you have to learn. You have to go through some adversity, and he quite frankly hasn't had a whole lot here in the last couple years. You know, I think you have to kind of take your lumps in order to learn how to be a major league pitcher, but at the next level there are going to be guys who've seen 100 mph fastballs, guys who've seen really good sliders. And he's going to have to learn how to get guys out by getting more balls over the plate, and you just don't have that, you have to learn that. He'll be a willing pupil, he'll learn that, and I think he'll have success.
(On the track record for pitching phenoms.) Maybe the right guy hasn't been in that situation. I don't know. I don't have the answer. I just know that there's an awful lot of scrutiny on that No. 1 guy, and being that No. 1 guy, there are expectations that come with that. I think Stephen is a guy who can handle that. That remains to be seen, but I've watched him the last three years. I've especially watched closely this year, because if there was ever a year where it was gonna go to your head, this year was gonna be that year. And it didn't. He just went about his business like he always does.
(On expectations) I told him last summer, before he went off to summer ball and the Olympics, that he was gonna be the most talked about player in college baseball next year. And with that there are some responsibilities that come. Things that you have been doing have been great, and you will have to continue to do those things. Like this expectation is gonna follow you. It's gonna follow you into this next year, into the draft and beyond. You know, again, he could have backed away from that. He could have said, 'Coach, I don't know if I'm ready. Could you talk to the press for me?' He didn't do that. He stepped right up to the challenge. So I expect him to do the same thing here. And for him this is kind of the ultimate challenge, because to get where he wants to go he's gonna have to perform. And I'm a believer. (Chuckles.) I'm a believer. For a 20-year-old to do the things he did this year and now be the first player taken in the draft, believe me, I know Nationals fans are going to expect a lot, and I don't know if that's fair or not, but that is what comes with that job. Hopefully he'll embrace it and go out and show people why all the fuss.
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