After the game, Strasburg said he was happy with his command and velocity, which was around 97 mph, and did not hold back in the abbreviated start. Strasburg's start was also on the 28th anniversary of the first of two rehab starts for Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Jim Palmer in Hagerstown. It was the first time Strasburg pitched for the Suns and likely the last if he can get back to the same form prior to the surgery.
"When you got the adrenaline going, you really don't know how you're going to throw," Strasburg said. "I went out there and once they said, 'Play ball,' I got that feeling back where you want to play. I wasn't really nervous. I had pretty good expectations. I knew I wasn't going to throw 100 [mph] every time."
Hagerstown lost the first game of the doubleheader, 7-5.
The standing-room-only crowd of more than 6,000 cheered each of Strasburg's pitches. It was likely the second-most attended game behind the more than 7,300 who showed up in 1983 to see the San Diego Chicken. The Suns were still tallying attendance into the second game.
Fans booed heartily when home-plate umpire John Burzynski had the audacity to call one of Strasburg's pitches a ball.
In the second inning, Strasburg started equally strong, throwing his first six pitches for strikes before allowing a solo home run, which just cleared the right-field fence.
After he reached 31 pitches, manager Brian Daubach pulled him with two outs with the Suns trailing, 1-0. Strasburg left to a standing ovation and a 5.40 ERA. He went directly to receive treatment for about an hour before meeting with the media.
"That was probably the hardest part," Strasburg said about being taken out of the game before the end of the second inning.
Strasburg could make as many as five more rehabilitation starts for the Nationals' affiliates on Aug. 12, 17, 22, two others in the final week of August and early September. He then could be added to the Nationals' active roster.
Strasburg could take the rotation spot vacated by Jordan Zimmermann once he goes over his allotted 160-inning limit this season.
"Obviously, my goal is to pitch in the big leagues in September," Strasburg said. "If it doesn't, that's not my call. It's a lot longer process than many people think. Come Spring Training next year, I should be back to normal."