Strasburg dishes on first two weeks in bigs

Strasburg dishes on first two weeks in bigs

DETROIT -- It's a scene that will be repeated in cities around the Major Leagues this summer: The desire of media members to speak with Stephen Strasburg is extreme.

So even though the Nationals' rookie righty isn't pitching during this three-game series in Detroit, he met with the assembled media Wednesday afternoon in a session that largely reviewed his first two weeks in the Majors.

On whether he has been able to get into a routine since his Major League debut on June 8: "I wasn't expecting any special [treatment] once I got up here. But I have been able to pick up on some things both mentally and physically. I've looked at how certain pitchers attack hitters. I've learned that hard work pays off."

On throwing to future Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez during his first two starts: "He has amazing knowledge. I'm trying to learn from him as much as I can. ... He keeps me nice and relaxed."

On how he has handled the media and fan attention: "I'm just not trying to get too high or too low. I think [all the attention] has been more enjoyable for my family than for me. I'm not playing this game for notoriety. I've just loved to play the game of baseball my entire life. ... Regardless, I have to be able to pitch on the road and if it becomes another big spectacle, that's great."

Regarding his enjoyment in watching other Major League pitchers: "I'm excited to watch [Justin] Verlander tonight. I try to be a fan of different pitchers and apply some of what I see to my game. I watched a lot of guys growing up, but it's different now playing against them. ... I did enjoy watching Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman growing up in San Diego. When I can, I still try to watch those guys."

On personal goals or statistics he wants to reach this season: "The important thing is trying to help the team win games."

Regarding what he has learned through two games in the Majors and how he handles working on a strict pitch count: "You have to pound the strike zone. Up here, everyone is a good hitter and they will hit mistakes. I'm not changing anything as part of my routine."

Perhaps two of the funniest things Strasburg has said since he joined Washington were uttered Wednesday. When asked what he did that afternoon in Detroit, he mentioned going out to a local mall and lunch. And when asked if anyone recognized him, Strasburg replied, "I was there with Pudge [Rodriguez], so that kind of gave it away. I think people put two and two together."

Finally, when asked what his favorite thing was about being a Major Leaguer, he replied, "The food is great." He went on to mention crab legs, shrimp and other options as part of a pregame meal. In the Minors, the pregame meal often consisted of "tuna salad and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches."