VIERA, Fla. (AP) — As he warmed up in the bullpen for his second spring training start, Stephen Strasburg felt strong. Perhaps a little too strong.
The right-hander overcame a shaky first inning and the Washington Nationals’ offense came up big again in an 11-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Strasburg walked two and gave up an RBI single to his first three batters before settling down. He went three innings, allowing two hits while throwing 28 of 48 pitches for strikes.
“I got some good work in,” Strasburg said. “I felt too good in the bullpen and then went out there and tried to paint the first pitch on (the black) instead of starting out with a little bit bigger zone and then working off the middle of the plate.
“I made a good adjustment and then I didn’t see any problems.”
Anthony Rendon homered and Wilson Ramos had two hits and three RBIs for the Nationals, who have 27 runs in their last three games. Washington scored four runs in the third inning, three on infield singles.
Allen Craig had two of St. Louis’ three hits, including an RBI single. Cardinals starter Joe Kelly gave up five runs and seven hits in 2 1-3 innings.
Cardinals: Kelly had a rough outing, but manager Mike Matheny wasn’t entirely displeased.
“I thought he did a lot better job than what his line is going to look like,” Matheny said. “It was just one of those days.”
Nationals: Strasburg continued to work on his slider, which he is mixing in about as often as his curveball right now. He said he throws the slider to get contact, not for a strikeout.
“Before, I would kind of throw it easy, a little unsure,” Strasburg said. “But in the `pen, it felt really good. Then I go out there and I was overthrowing it. It had a little too much movement. But then I took a step back and then I started to get some better results with it.”
Cardinals: Outfield prospect Oscar Tavares made the trip to Viera, but his only action was shagging fly balls before the game. Matheny said Tavares felt tightness in his right hamstring during Saturday’s game. Tavares is day to day.
Nationals: Manager Matt Williams said RHP Doug Fister (elbow inflammation) is feeling better, but there is still no timetable for his return. Ryan Mattheus (chest inflammation) has started a throwing program, but has not thrown off a mound yet.
THE OTHER CORNER
Ryan Zimmerman did not play for the Nationals, but he did take some grounders at first base. Williams indicated he plans to give the team’s starting third baseman some time on the other side of the diamond this spring.
The Cardinals signed 23-year-old Cuban infielder Aledmys Diaz to a four-year contract. He will report to camp Monday.
“He looked like a very experienced player for as young as he is,” said Matheny, who attended Diaz’s workout. “He was clean fielding the ball. … The ball jumped off his bat. He looked pretty polished.”
Matheny said Diaz would have to be evaluated by the team’s medical staff before it could be determined when he will be ready to play this spring. Diaz can play shortstop or second base.
NATS MAKE CUTS
The Nationals made their first cuts of spring training Sunday morning. The team reassigned 1B-3B Matt Skole, C Jeff Howell, INF Josh Johnson, C Brian Jeroloman, LHP Tyler Robertson and RHP Gabriel Alfaro to minor league camp.