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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 22, 2010

Strasburg has early fan following

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Washington's Stephen Strasburg threw 37 pitches yesterday before about 150 fans at Viera, Fla.

ROB CARR | Associated Press

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Stephen Strasburg is already creating quite a buzz in spring training.

About 150 fans, twice the normal number for Washington's first workout, watched Nationals pitchers and catchers practice yesterday at Viera, Fla. And most of them had their eyes squarely on the No. 1 pick in last June's draft.

Strasburg threw 37 pitches matching his jersey number during his 9-minute session, one of five pitchers manager Jim Riggleman watched intently. Strasburg tossed four-seam fastballs, two-seamers, a slider/curveball hybrid and changeups.

After the outing, Riggleman tried to temper expectations swirling around the right-hander.

"We're open-minded. Everybody's performances will determine where they end up," Riggleman said. "(Strasburg) could pitch real well down here, but we still may feel like the development process is to be respected."

If Strasburg starts his first professional season in the minors, the 21-year-old from San Diego State said that's fine.

"They have a plan for me," he said. "I trust that they're going to handle me the right way. You just got to worry about what you can control and that's going out there and trying to help your team win a ballgame."



American League MVP Joe Mauer reported to spring training for Minnesota yesterday at Fort Myers, Fla., without a contract extension in place.

He hasn't talked specifics about the negotiations all offseason and said that won't change now that spring training is beginning.

"I'm not going to get into that," the catcher said.

Mauer is entering the final year of his deal and the Twins are trying to get a long-term extension done before the regular season begins. The Twins have also refused to publicly discuss the process.

He won his third AL batting crown last year for his hometown team and helped lead the Twins to the AL Central title.


Diamondbacks: Arizona slugger Mark Reynolds says his agent is in "pretty heavy talks" on a new contract.

Reynolds said he couldn't share any figures but the deal would be for either the two or three arbitration-eligible seasons beginning in 2011.

The 26-year-old third baseman hit 44 home runs with 105 RBIs and 98 runs last year, his second full season in the majors.

Tigers: A person familiar with the negotiations says Johnny Damon has completed his physical with Detroit, clearing the way for the team to finalize a one-year contract with the outfielder.

Another person familiar with the situation said Saturday night that the Tigers and Damon agreed on an $8 million, one-year deal, subject to a physical.

Damon, 36, played for the New York Yankees last season.

White Sox: Ozzie Guillen wasted little time yesterday in clearing up one question as the Chicago White Sox opened spring training for pitchers and catchers at Glendale, Ariz.

Guillen said Mark Buehrle will start the season opener April 5 against Cleveland. Jake Peavy will follow Buehrle in the rotation.