Strasburg pleased with improved spring mechanics

Strasburg pleased with improved spring mechanics

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was dominant on the mound during a 4-2 loss to the Astros at Space Coast Stadium on Saturday evening.

Strasburg lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowed one run on five hits, struck out eight batters and walked one. He threw a season-high 93 pitches, 64 for strikes.

"I don't know what my velocity is. I'm not really worried about that. I know it's going to come with time," Strasburg said. "I think the biggest thing is hitting my spots and executing pitches. I think I've been able to do that the last couple of times out. So I have to keep working on it. It's going to be a little better as time goes on."

Strasburg struck out five consecutive hitters before Astros outfielder Rick Ankiel hit a 2-2 pitch over the right-field wall in the fourth inning for his second home run of the spring.

"I thought Stras threw the ball great. ... He threw a lot of pitches for the innings he threw, but he still had a lot left in the tank," manager Davey Johnson said.

Strasburg was satisfied with his mechanics while pitching in the stretch, which was a problem against the Braves on Monday. He allowed four runs in that game.

In the first inning of Saturday's game, for example, the Astros had runners on first and second with no outs, but Strasburg prevented them from scoring. He was able to make adjustments on the rubber.

"I like putting [my leg] in front of the rubber a little bit," Strasburg said. "When I drive, I was pushing more out instead of down the mound. So I just kind of put it a little bit more on top of the rubber. That kind of helped me used the slope and get on top of it."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.