According to the Washington Post, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman hinted Sunday that Stephen Strasburg is likely to begin the 2010 season in the minor leagues.
The 2009 No. 1 overall pick threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Sunday. He delivered 37 pitches, mostly fastballs, and apparently looked pretty sharp. But, no matter how great he may look this spring, the Nats want to respect the process.
“I wouldn’t really want to say that he’s competing for a spot in the rotation,” Riggleman said shortly after the workout. “I think we’re open-minded, but… he could pitch real well down here, but we still might feel like the development, the process is to be respected of going through the system and getting really used to the rigors of throwing every fifth day [in the minor leagues].”
Strasburg will get the call sooner than later, and perhaps right around the time Chien-Ming Wang (shoulder) is ready to contribute. The arrival of that duo should make for a nice midseason boost in Washington.
Free agent reliever Sean Burnett signed a minor-league pact with the Marlins on Saturday. Per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the left-hander is slated to begin the season in extended spring training and will work toward a role in the majors.
Burnett, 35, has not appeared in full-time role in MLB since 2012. He last pitched for a big league team in 2016, surfacing for 5 2/3 innings with the Nationals before returning to the minors. Despite signing a minor-league deal with the Phillies last spring, he failed to make the Opening Day roster and was released prior to the start of the season.
Complicating Burnett’s return is a slew of chronic elbow issues. The left-hander has dealt with everything from bone spurs to a torn UCL over the last six years, and will need to take things slowly in the minors before the Marlins consider adding him to the bullpen this season.