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Strasburg earns AFL's Pitcher of the Week

Strasburg earns AFL's Pitcher of the Week

Though a strained neck muscle kept Washington Nationals prospect Stephen Strasburg from being able to participate in Saturday's Rising Stars Showcase game, it didn't prevent him from earning the Arizona Fall League's most recent Pitcher of the Week honors.

Strasburg was honored, along with Player of the Week Wilin Rosario, an up-and-coming catcher with the Colorado Rockies organization.

Strasburg, who is making his professional debut this fall with the five-time defending champion Phoenix Desert Dogs, made one start last week and struck out a league-high six batters over five innings, giving up one earned run on four hits while walking one in a 10-2 win against Surprise on Nov. 2.

The San Diego State product, taken with the first overall pick in the June Major League Player Draft, lowered his ERA to 5.28 with the gem and now leads the league with three wins and is fourth with 17 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings. His 9.98 strikeouts per nine innings leads the league.

The 21-year-old right-hander has had one rough outing in his four AFL starts, giving up eight runs -- seven earned -- on seven hits, including three home runs, in 2 2/3 innings on Oct. 22. In his other three starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA, having allowed seven hits and four walks in 12 2/3 innings, while striking out 13.

Strasburg is not expected to miss his next start due to his strained neck. Initially expected to be one of the starting pitchers in Saturday night's showcase, the scratch was strictly precautionary.

Strasburg and the Desert Dogs finished the week in first place in the AFL East, leading Mesa and Scottsdale by 3 1/2 games.

The league's championship game, between the East and West division champions, will be broadcast on MLB Network on Saturday, Nov. 21., with a free live simulcast on MLB.com. Diamondbacks announcer Daron Sutton and MLB Network's Tony Clark will call the game, which begins at 2:35 p.m. ET/12:35 MT at Scottsdale Stadium.

Rosario, 20, batted .545 this week for the Scottsdale Scorpions, hitting three homers and driving in four runs while scoring six and even stealing a base. He was hitting .303 for the Scorpions after batting .266 at Advanced A Modesto this summer.

Among the other AFL prospects who received consideration for the weekly award: Marcus Lemon (Texas), Brandon Laird (Yankees) and Jose Tabata (Pittsburgh) for Player of the Week, and Zach Braddock (Milwaukee) and Donnie Veal (Pittsburgh) for Pitcher of the Week.

Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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