by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty joined “Grant and Danny” on 106.7 The Fan on Tuesday, more or less to give the state of Washington’s pitching staff now more than a week removed from them first reporting to Viera, Fla.

Stephen Strasburg (8-9, 3.00 ERA, 183 IP, 1.049 WHIP in 2013) was the early topic of discussion, as the ace looks to continue to improve upon his progress made last season, now entering his third season removed from Tommy John surgery in 2011.

On Stephen Strasburg:

“You look at his season last year and all his numbers were really good, except the wins weren’t there,” McCatty said. “I think he went through one phase where it was like 9 or 10 games where he gave up one run or less, and I don’t think he got any wins. So you take some of those games out of there and put ’em as W’s, and his record looks a lot better. People always say he didn’t have that good a year, but overall, he threw the ball great.”

“He’s still the same way, he’s focused on going out there getting deeper in games, he doesn’t care about the strikeouts — those strikeouts are gonna happen naturally for him, he’s gonna get his fair share — but [he’s] adding another pitch. He’s tinkering with it and willing to do it, and so far it’s looked really good.

“But his main thing is coming back, he had a little surgery. He’s absolutely fine, throwing the ball great, but he wants to go out there and he wants to get deeper into games. That’s just the way he is — all the guys do — but for him, he’s got a little more seriousness to him. His expectations for himself are really high, and he wants to push himself.”

Although McCatty neglected to identify the new pitch in his interview, last week, Adam Kilgore learned Strasburg has been tinkering with a slider to go with the fastball, changeup and curve he already has in his arsenal.

On Drew Storen’s Weight Gain:

Drew Storen reported to Viera weighing about 200 pounds — the heaviest he’s ever been in his life, he told reporters last week.

“You kind of need to have a little meat to get through the rigors of the season,” Storen said, via DC Sports Bog. “I kind of like it. I feel way better.”

McCatty was asked if the team instructed Storen to pack on the pounds in preparation for the season.

“No, we didn’t say that,” McCatty said. “Drew’s always been the guy that — he wasn’t really big, but he had a big arm — but that was something he did. I don’t know what he added — 15, 20 pounds — but it doesn’t look like fat at all. It might be one of those things too, he got up at such a young age, all pitchers, if you look at them over their career, they tend to pack on a few pounds. But he did it with a design, and he looks good. I think it would be good for the long haul, and right now he looks absolutely great.”

On the addition of Doug Fister:

“The thing that he adds — not only is he really good and he’ll give you a lot of innings for the staff — but for the younger guys, and one thing that we like to stress but you gotta take a little more pride in it, is he’s able to field his position. He holds runners. And for some guys, that was an issue. And he comes out, and that’s what he does. And they just watch the way he goes about it when he goes through the drills. There’s effort in everything that he does. There’s a reason why he does it. Even in the bullpens, he’ll work on it. And they just watch him, and they really look up to him — one, he’s a good pitcher, he’s a great guy — but his work ethic is really, really good.”

Listen to the full interview in the clip above.


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