Stephen Strasburg is so dedicated to helping the Washington Nationals succeed, he’s not afraid of a little secret training session to do it. The Nats ace revealed he and a bullpen catcher snuck into a Little League field in Virginia for a secret throwing session while the team was in limbo following a postponement of their opening series vs. the New York Mets.
“We were kind of just in the dark for the first couple days when we got back. I went in, met with one of our bullpen catchers. We like, found a little league field over in Virginia, crawled through some bushes and hopped a fence, and played catch one day,” Strasburg said. “At that point, I was like, I didn’t want to do that again until I can get back on the field.”
When he was asked when was the last time he had to hop a fence to play baseball, the righty replied, “I mean, everything’s on lockdown here so I don’t know.”
Yes, that’s the former World Series MVP, crawling through bushes, hopping a fence and playing baseball at a Little League field. Even though Strasburg’s methods of staying hot are questionable, whatever he did worked. Although the Nationals would lose 2-0 in the second game of a doubleheader to the Braves on Wednesday, ‘Stras’ didn’t look rusty at all.
In his first appearance of the 2021 campaign, he was nearly perfect: just one hit and two walks conceded, eight strikeouts, and a total batting average allowed of 0.053. On the offensive side of the ball, Strasburg also had a great day. Hitting a double off Braves righty Huascar Ynoa into right field, Strasburg felt right at home in his first major league action in eight months.
What’s most unbelievable about Strasburg’s incredible outing is that this is the first real action he’s seen since the 2019 season in which he led the Nationals to a World Series title.
In 2020, Strasburg began the season on the injured list, pitched just five total innings in two games vs. Baltimore in August, then was placed back on the IL for the rest of the campaign with a nerve issue in his right hand.