- Pete Medhurst

The only thing missing was Oscar Goldman.

Someone will inevitably call him the Bionic Man. Why not me and let’s get it over with.

Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg took another step in his comeback from Tommy John Surgery Friday night, throwing three innings and 33 pitches, as the Potomac Nationals outlasted Myrtle Beach, 1-0, at Pfitzner Stadium.

Strasburg threw 26 strikes in his second rehab start, but over matched the Pelicans with a 99-mph fastball and deadly breaking stuff. After his three innings of work, the right-hander went to the bullpen to throw 17 more pitches to get to his 50-pitch limit for the night. Watching him in the bullpen before the game it looked like torpedoes coming out of his arm.

After getting his final out, the crowd of 8,619, the biggest non-fireworks crowd ever in Woodbridge rose as one in it appreciation for Strasburg’s effort. Many stayed after the game and chanted “We want Strasburg.” If you don’t think this guy is a cult hero already, 8,619 people went to Woodbridge on a Friday night in horrible I-95 traffic to watch him pitch.

Strasburg didn’t allow a ball out of the infield and more importantly was able to get out with his breaking stuff and not totally relying on his above average fastball. It was borderline unfair watching him throw curve balls to these young bucks from Myrtle Beach, which included Jared Hoying, the brother of former NFL Quarterback Bobby Hoying.

You want competitor? When one of the Pelican’s stepped out multiple times, trying a little gamesmanship, Strasburg blew him away at 98 and starred him down as he went back to the dugout. My favorite moment. None of this mutual admiration stuff, I love a guy that just wants to kick your tail, and lets move on to the next guy.

Potomac Manager Matt LeCroy, a major league catcher himself, said Strasburg looks major league ready.

Strasburg will throw again in five days, where that will be has yet to be determined. It could be in Japan and I’m not sure it will matter. You can only hope he remains in good health. If he does, can you imagine where he may be able to go with a surgically repaired arm, that supposedly makes you throw even harder? He’s throwing 99-mph at 11 months!

Even if it was Class-A players, the fact that Strasburg was throwing the ball with that kind of bite 11 months after surgery, it’s scary to think where he will be in four more weeks if he stays on track for a return to the big leagues in September.

I know the Phillies are tough, but this might be shaping up for the best baseball we have seen in D.C. since 1933. That year, the Senators lost to Carl Hubbell and the Giants, but, the Nats look like they have the modern day version of Walter Johnson coming again, and maybe baseball will finally gain consistent traction in the Nation’s Capital again, and a filled ball park every night.


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