Stephen Strasburg is going to stick with the same plan he employed throughout college when he makes his first appearance in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League on Friday.
Strasburg, selected by the Washington Nationals with the No. 1 overall pick in June's amateur draft, pitched inside when he competed for San Diego State and is hoping to continue that strategy in the pros.
"I was able to be successful on the inner half in college, so my whole goal is to carry over what I was focusing on at school and trying to do it here at this level," he said Thursday. "That's where you make your money, on the inside corner. When hitters get comfortable, then you get in trouble."
Strasburg pitched five innings in two outings with Washington's instructional league team in Florida and is expected to throw only three or four innings for Phoenix against Scottsdale on Friday.
The right-hander, who signed a record $15.1 million, four-year contract with the Nationals, went 13-1 in his final season with the Aztecs, leading Division I pitchers in ERA (1.35) and strikeouts (195 in 109 innings). He won the Golden Spikes award for the top U.S. amateur baseball player.
Strasburg said he is looking forward to "being able to pitch in a game with a little bit on the line. It's been a long time since I've been able to do that. To be out here and be playing against some pretty good competition, I'm excited about that and to see what I can do."
At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, and with a fastball that can reach 100 mph, Strasburg could start the 2010 season in the Nationals' rotation. But he refuses to look that far ahead.
"I'm not going to put any expectations on myself," he said. "The pro game is a little big different than college, so a big thing I'm going to focus on is getting my body in shape for a long season."