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Fans invited to welcome Strasburg to DC

Fans invited to welcome Strasburg to DC

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals' No. 1 pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, will be introduced at a news conference at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, and everyone with a ticket to that night's game is invited to come watch and, even better, participate.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.nationals.com/one.

The event will be held inside Nationals Park and is open to all ticket holders for Friday's game. The center-field gates will open at 1:30 p.m. and ticket holders will be able to enjoy the event from Field Level seating areas along the third-base line near the visitors' dugout.

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Following the news conference, Nationals team officials will participate in a 30-minute question-and-answer session with those in attendance. The seating area will then remain open for batting practice, giving fans a closer vantage point than usual.

Tickets are limited to two per transaction and are located in the following seating areas: LF/RF Corner, LF Box and LF/RF Mezzanine. Season parking lots and garages will open at their regularly scheduled time of 5:30 p.m.

As for Strasburg, he will stay with the team until Monday and then go to Viera, Fla., to get his arm back into pitching shape since he hasn't pitched in a competitive game since a College World Series regional game in May. The Nationals are planning to have Strasburg pitch in the instructional league and then play in the Arizona Fall League.

Rizzo said it's highly unlikely that Strasburg will pitch in the Major Leagues this season or at the start of next season.

"Strasburg hasn't pitched competitively since the 28th of May, so typically it's a four- or five-week process to ramp him up [and let him pitch competitively]," Rizzo said. "It's very unlikely [that he will pitch in the big leagues]. We expect to develop him at a usual pace. Hopefully, when he gets to the big leagues, he is ready to be here and he is everything that we think he is going to be here."

Strasburg, 20, went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA in 15 starts this season at San Diego State University en route to being named the Golden Spikes Award winner. He struck out 195 batters and issued just 19 walks in 109 innings.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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