Sports

Strasburg already winning some fans

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 Sunday in Melbourne, Fla. And most had their eyes 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 change-ups.

After the outing, Riggleman tried to temper expectations 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.”

Damon completes physical

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

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

Short hops

American League MVP Joe Mauer reported to spring training for the Minnesota Twins on Sunday 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. … Oakland Athletics pitcher Justin Duchscherer is off to a slow start at spring training. The two-time All-Star, who missed all of last season after having surgery on his right elbow and being treated for clinical depression, didn’t throw Sunday during the first workout for Oakland pitchers and catchers. … Toronto Blue Jays reliever Dirk Hayhurst was placed on the 60-day disabled list and is expected to miss most of the season after having right shoulder surgery Feb. 5.

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