VIERA, Fla. — Top prospect Stephen Strasburg made his spring training debut on Tuesday, pitching two scoreless innings in the Washington Nationals' 9-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Strasburg threw 15 of his 27 pitches for strikes and allowed two hits, successive two-out singles by Don Kelly and Alex Avila in the second. But the right-hander finished off Brent Dlugach with a bending, 81 mph breaking ball for an inning-ending strikeout.
"I just wanted to go out there and throw strikes," Strasburg said. "If they hit it, they hit it. Big deal. I have enough confidence in my stuff that if I can go out there and make them put the ball in play, I've got a great defense behind me that's going to back me up."
Strasburg was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft and received a record $15.1 million, four-year contract from the Nationals. He went 13-1 in his final season with San Diego State, leading Division I pitchers in ERA (1.35) and strikeouts (195 in 109 innings).
Strasburg's fastball against the Tigers was consistently measured in the 97-98 mph range and he struck out two. He had some problems with location and threw first-pitch strikes to only two of the eight batters he faced.
"Command wasn't really there, but I think a lot of that had to do with the adrenaline going on," he said. "It's something that happens to me every time — even in college, even in high school. That first outing, there's all this excitement and it's really difficult to control the adrenaline and make sure you're staying nice and relaxed."
Magglio Ordonez and Austin Jackson homered for the Tigers, and Kelly finished with three hits. Rick Porcello yielded two hits three scoreless innings, allowing two hits.
The Nationals fell to 0-7 in exhibition games.
The Nationals hope RHP Chien-Ming Wang will be ready to throw a bullpen session by early next week. … 2B Scott Sizemore was scratched from the Tigers' lineup with a left ankle injury and replaced by Dlugach.
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