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Stephen Strasburg impresses again

At some point, Stephen Strasburg's bullpen sessions will just be bullpen sessions and stop existing as newsmaking events. That day is not today.

Strasburg threw his third bullpen session of the spring this morning, throwing to Wil Nieves for 12 minutes against an oppressive wind. (General manager Mike Rizzo dressed as if he was going as Sir Edmund Hillary for Halloween.) Even while the 30-mph wind made it difficult for Strasburg to spot his curveball, the electricity of his pitches made it difficult for the baseball men observing him to contain their praise.

"Everybody is talking about good his stuff is," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "We might be underestimating it. It's pretty unbelievable.

"The kid's a horse. He's a stud. There's no other way to paint it. Hitters are going to tell you how good he is or how good he's doing. But you just don't see that stuff. You just don't. I have not seen it. I haven't been with Nolan [Ryan]. Have any of you guys seen anything like that before? It is what it is. Appreciate it."

Wind was the dominant factor of the day, the final session before the full-squad workouts start tomorrow. After Strasburg finished, McCatty talked to him about the times the wind ambushed his curve. "Don't worry about it," McCatty recalled telling Strasburg. "You're not going to make the team today, anyways. So just relax, get your throwing in."

Nieves had played catch with Strasburg before, but he had never squatted and caught his pitches. "Everybody is talking so good about him, you want to get to catch him," said Nieves, a professional since 1996. After the session, Nieves was not disappointed.

"You can see how explosive his fastball is," Nieves said. "He throws so nice and easy. He throws the ball down hill. It's going to be hard for hitters to stay on top of the ball, plus he throws 98, 99, 100. Plus he throws a breaking ball, and he has a pretty good changeup, too. He just needs to be healthy, and he's going to be a good pitcher."

After Strasburg's last pitch, he met Nieves halfway between the mound and the plate. Nieves told him he threw great and not to worry that he didn't feel comfortable with his breaking ball grip in the chill. Nieves patted him on the back and said, "You're going to be fine."

"For such a young guy, he seems mature," Nieves said. "He's a nice guy. The way he acts, he listens to you. He wants to learn. That's huge, to be humble and to listen to other people, especially when you're a guy like that -- you're a star right now."

By Adam Kilgore  |  February 25, 2010; 3:01 PM ET
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Next: Nationals: From bad to how much better?


First, and its Strasburg not Strasburgh.

Posted by: eternale5150 | February 25, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

It's "it's," not "its."

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 25, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Alright Will you've been absolutely on fire the past two seasons. Im looking for you to keep this hot streak your on and notch that 3rd home run this year.

Posted by: Stu27 | February 25, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Hope you all enjoy Ben McDonald 2.0

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 25, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm with John - cut Adam a little slack for a typo on his first day - I'm more than happy with the volume.

Now Adam - since we know Strasburg's a stud and they've printed tickets for Potomac and we're not going to see him downtown for many months, can you go find out what's happening with Olsen and Chico?

The key to this year is not having another disaster in April and May. See what you can figure out about that, ok?

Posted by: natslifer | February 25, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

And, it's "Wil" not "Will."

Posted by: BobLHead | February 25, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

And it's "the check is in the mail and it's a large one" not "at"

Posted by: Section506 | February 25, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and it's spelled "Nolan Ryan 2.0"

Posted by: nomad2 | February 25, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Ladson wins -- that player kasten was talking about who's "close to the bigs" is rafael Martin, a pitcher from mexico

Posted by: swanni | February 25, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Ladson can be a schill for the team but he's breaking a lot of stories.

Posted by: swanni | February 25, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Nice use of the Flip video player, Adam. I'm sure Barry would be proud of the multimedia effort.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 25, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Zuckerman reported yesterday on Rafael Martin reporting for minor league camp, long before Ladson. Nats Farm Authority had taken note as well. Just sayin...

Posted by: cassander | February 25, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Just because some washed up, steroid-using catcher sees similarities between Nolan Ryan and the Natinals Ben McDonald 2.0 doesn't mean there are any. Pudge was probably just talking about how they get dressed in the lockerroom.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 25, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 25, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

According to UVA baseball, SS was just normal :)

Posted by: fearturtle44 | February 26, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Here is a quote from Thomas Boswell:

"That spring, we all watched McDonald almost at arm's length, just like Strasburg now. It's not close. Strasburg looks better. He's faster, has more quality pitches, is quicker to the plate and, since he was never a star until his second year in college, Strasburg never developed an entitled attitude. "

I do not believe that Boswell is also classified as a "washed up, steroid-using" person, but I am sure someone will find something bad to say about him and his "Professional" opinion. Unless someone else also saw these two players in person and up close, I will defer my judgment to Boswell's comments.

Posted by: JohnWWW | February 26, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

+1 to what JohnWWW said. I'll value Boswell's comments over some keyboard commandos rantings.

Posted by: calhokie | February 26, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Boswell is a fan that writes columns. He is not a baseball scout or insider.

Recall that 2 years ago he recommended that the Nationals sign the then 30 year old Andruw Jones to a multi-year contract on the argument that after a poor season he would go back to putting up the numbers he had earlier in this career.

Imagine if the team had invested $15M a year in Jones for 5 years?

Posted by: leopard09 | February 26, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

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