Strasburg Makes Long-Anticipated Debut

Rookie pitches 2 scoreless innings

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Stephen Strasburg

    We finally know the answer to the question: "What Would Stephen Strasburg Do?"

    He'd throw two scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers in his spring training debut with the Washington Nationals.

    "Jesus" started his spring debut Tuesday afternoon with a 1-2-3 first inning, getting all three hitters to ground out. It took him just seven pitches to induce Austin Jackson, Clete Thomas and Magglio Ordonez into groundouts.

    With the first inning out of the way, all eyes turned to Strasburg's matchup against Miguel Cabrera -- one of the best hitters in the game.

    And Strasburg was impressive. He struck out Cabrera with a high fastball on a 2-2 count. But most impressive was the 1-1 curveball for a strike that made Cabrera buckle a bit at the knees.

    Carlos Guillen followed with a quick grounder to third.

    But Strasburg's debut then went a bit off track. He gave up back-to-back singles to Don Kelly and Alex Avila, but finished off his two innings of work with a strikeout of Brent Dlugach.

    Yes, that Brent Dlugach.

    Strasburg fell behind 3-0 to the minor-league shortstop before pumping two fastballs down the pipe. He followed that up with a sharp breaking ball that Dlugach watched spin across the plate for strike three.

    So there you go: Strasburg finally made his debut against real, live MLB hitters in a game situation. He showed promise, he struggled a bit, but he finished with composure. And most of all, he gave hope to Nats fans that there really is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said Strasburg's performance was "real good."

    "I thought the ball was coming out free and easy," Riggleman told MASN during the game.

    Spring is here, folks. And Nationals baseball seems to have a bright future.