Ready or Not, It's Strasburg's Time

Ace meets, greets at Nats Park

With $15.1 million in tow, Stephen Strasburg arrived at Nationals Park Friday afternoon to try on his No. 37 Nats jersey, take questions from the media and meet the fans.

All eyes were on the San Diego State standout because, well, he's the new face of the franchise. Heck, he's more than the face. He's going to have to be the broad shoulders that the rest of the team will pile on to with hopes that he'll lead them to a winning season and (gulp) a spot in the playoffs.

But does the fresh-faced kid know how much this team desperately needs his arm to be successful?

"Not really," Strasburg said. "I'm just coming right out of college. But I'm definitely starting to get a taste for it now."

He got his first true taste of Washington media hype during Friday's press conference.

There were $1 tickets to Friday's game, which also got a few hundred fans into the ballpark hours early to watch said press conference. There were fireworks. There was an appearance by the "old" face of the franchise, Ryan Zimmerman, who presented Strasburg with his first white Nats jersey.

And so the Strasburg era begins.

The stud pitcher's appearance at Nats Park will probably be his last for at least a short while, as the team plans on bringing him along slowly.

New Nats GM Mike Rizzo said the team has a "very distinct plan" for Strasburg's development.

Rizzo said that after pitching 109 "stressful" innings at San Diego State, Strasburg will be sent to the Florida Instructional League to assess where his arm is at. If all goes well, he will be prepared to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this fall. 

After that, it's up to Strasburg to show the team he's ready to dominate major league hitters.  And yes, dominate is the key word.  For $15 million, anything else will be a disappointment.

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