Stephen Strasburg to debut on June 8 vs. Pirates

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Strasburg debut.jpgIt’s finally official. After rampant speculation and anticipation, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that 2009 first-round pick Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to make his major league debut on Tuesday, June 8 against the Pirates.

The 21-year-old right-hander has blown the doors off minor league
competition, going 6-2 with a 1.43 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and a 60/12 K/BB ratio
through his first 10 professional starts. Naturally, the Nationals have been more than pleased with their record-breaking investment. And with his potential “Super Two” status no longer a concern, they are ready to set him loose on major league hitters.

“Along with [pitching coordinator] Spin Williams and pitching coach
Steve McCatty, we had a plan in place since Spring Training [for
Strasburg],” Rizzo said. “We believe he is ready to go. We like that
Stephen could bounce back from tough outings.”

But he isn’t bound for NatsTown quite yet. Strasburg is scheduled for one final tuneup with Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday, where Rizzo said he is expected to throw six innings or 95 pitches.

And now time for a little experiment. I’m wondering how many fans who bought tickets to the widely-hyped June 4 game will actually show up to watch J.D Martin or somebody of similar ilk?

Nationals will add Mat Latos to the roster on Thursday

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 11:  Mat Latos #38 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Texas Rangers in the bottom of the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 11, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.

Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.

In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.

Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.

John Gibbons texts Mark Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September.”

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 2:  Mark Buehrle #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the second inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on October 2, 2015 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.

Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.

Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.