Strasburg's fate to be decided Saturday

Strasburg's fate to be decided Saturday

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg made his third Spring Training start Friday night against the Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium, and it was a good one.

Strasburg pitched four innings, allowing two runs on four hits while fanning eight batters in a 13-5 victory.

But will Friday's outing be Strasburg's last Spring Training appearance with the big club? The Nationals will hold a meeting on Saturday morning to determine if Strasburg will go to Minor League camp.

Catcher Ivan Rodriguez indicated before Friday's game ended that Strasburg was going to start the season in the Minor Leagues.

"He has tremendous talent," Rodriguez said. "He is going to the Minor Leagues and get some starts there. He is going to come to our team very soon. This kid is amazing. He throws a lot of strikes."

Strasburg said he wasn't sure if he would make his fourth start, which is scheduled against the Yankees in Tampa on Wednesday. He plans to work out Saturday and wait for the team to make a decision on his future.

"I'm not sure. I'm just soaking this all in right now. I'll just go back to my program tomorrow and see what they tell me to do," he said.

For the spring, Strasburg has pitched nine innings, given up two runs on eight hits, struck out 12 batters and walked one.

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Strasburg got off to a slow start in the first inning on Friday, allowing solo home runs to Tyler Greene and Allen Craig. Greene hit the first pitch of the game, clubbing it over the left-center-field fence.

After Craig's home run, however, Strasburg allowed just two hits the rest of the way. At one point during the game, Strasburg struck out four consecutive batters.

Strasburg left the game with a 3-2 lead after four innings.

"I felt pretty good. Some guys are just going to swing at the first pitch of the game. It happens," Strasburg said. "I tried to execute pitches better. Luckily, I was able to keep the team in the ballgame long enough to turn it around and score some runs."

Strasburg said he has created a different routine compared to what he went through while attending San Diego State University, including implementing better pitch selection while learning how to hold runners on base.

"I try to get as much information from the coaches and players that I can. It will make me a better ballplayer and help this team win some ballgames," Strasburg said. "I've been able to make some adjustments working with [pitching coach] Steve McCatty in the bullpen.

"I try to throw as many pitches as I can -- starting in the strike zone to force contact and not nibble. I just have been really trying to work hard, and I've been able to have a little bit of success here so far."

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