KANSAS CITY -- Stephen Strasburg knows how Addison Reed handled his first trying situation and figured hed have no issues becoming a major league closer.
Back when the two were San Diego State Aztecs together from 2008-09, Strasburg, now a National League All-Star for the Washington Nationals, counseled the current White Sox closer.
Reed arrived at San Diego State in 2008, one year after Strasburg. Just like Strasburg experienced the previous season, Reed, a starting pitcher in high school, was thrust into the bullpen and unsure of his role.
The two became fast friends -- Reed is a groomsmen in Strasburgs upcoming wedding -- and excelled on the field. Strasburg went 8-3 with a 1.57 ERA and established himself as college baseballs premier prospect in 2008 while Reed posted a 2.73 ERA in 24 games. While Strasburgs 13 wins in 2009 elevated him into a media darling and helped him become the top pick of the amateur draft that June, Reed posted a 0.65 ERA and converted all 20 of his save attempts.
I had already went through it, Strasburg said. I kind of took him under my wing a little bit and talked to him about the whole closing process and he just excelled in that role and it really just became a part of him. (Tough situations) dont faze him.
Reed returned to the rotation as a junior in 2011 and flourished, going 8-2 with a 2.50 ERA for the Aztecs in 11 starts.
But Strasburg isnt surprised his friend and former teammate wound up back in the bullpen. Nor by how Reed, a third-round pick by the White Sox in 2010, rose from Single-A all the way to the majors within his first full professional season in 2011.
Reed is 13-for-14 in save situations this season for the White Sox.
He has such great short-term memory, Strasburg said. If he goes out and pitches poorly, he wont even remember it the next day. So youre getting a fresh guy with the same confidence every single day. It was great just seeing him tear it up his first year and make it to the big leagues. Hes really worked hard for it.