Stephen Strasburg was perfect through five innings in his fifth rehab start Saturday at Trple-A Syracuse before allowing two singles to start the sixth inning. Strasburg was pulled after the first two batters and charged with a run, but that hardly overshadowed the rest of his night.
In his first start above Class A, Strasburg jumped to Triple-A where he struck out seven of the 17 patters he faced and didn't even allow a fly ball out until the fifth inning. His fastball registered up to 98 mph, the Associated Press reported. He was pulled after 64 pitches (47 strikes) and is expected to make one more start before returning to the big leagues on Sept. 6, when the Nationals host the Dodgers. That would also be just three days after the anniversary of his Tommy John surgery last Sept. 3.
In five starts so far, he's 0-1 with a 5.04 ERA, but 25 strikeouts and just three walks in 14 1/3 innings. He's allowed 13 hits and nine runs (eight earned).
"This is my fifth start in a year," Strasburg told Dave Seinin of the Washington Post. "So I'm still probably in the middle of spring training mode, and it's probably going to feel that way, unfortunately, until the end of the year."
The end of the year should come in a big-league uniform, though.
Strasburg would likely pitch again on Sept. 1. So far in his rehab, he's only pitched home games for Nationals affiliates, making Double-A Harrisburg the likely destination for his final tune-up. Nationals manager Davey Johnson has said Strasburg wouldn't pitch for the Nationals until Sept. 6, but the fact he put that specific date on it makes it seem Strasburg would continue pitching every fifth day and return to Nationals Park on the day after Labor Day.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.