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Strasburg 'trusting the process' this spring

Righty focused on sticking to routine he developed in strong, healthy '17 season
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- At this point in his career, Stephen Strasburg feels as if he has developed a solid routine for himself. He has ditched the windup and started going completely out of the stretch, reduced his throwing in between starts, found a workout plan he sticks to and revamped his offseason running program.

It all added up to one of the healthiest seasons of his Major League career in 2017, one he finished perhaps as strong and pitching as well as he ever had before. So as he goes through Spring Training this year, Strasburg's goal has been maintaining that program to keep himself healthy and effective.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- At this point in his career, Stephen Strasburg feels as if he has developed a solid routine for himself. He has ditched the windup and started going completely out of the stretch, reduced his throwing in between starts, found a workout plan he sticks to and revamped his offseason running program.

It all added up to one of the healthiest seasons of his Major League career in 2017, one he finished perhaps as strong and pitching as well as he ever had before. So as he goes through Spring Training this year, Strasburg's goal has been maintaining that program to keep himself healthy and effective.

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"It's hard, because I'm a really impatient person," Strasburg said after his outing in Thursday's 8-5 victory over the Mets. "But I know that trust and trusting the process, that everything is going to fine tune itself. I just look at it more big picture.

"I would much rather have more left in the tank on the back end than blow it a little too early."

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Yet, he turned in another impressive spring outing on Thursday. Opposing hard-throwing Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard, Strasburg lit up the radar gun in his own way with fastballs that touched the upper 90s and exhibited sharp breaking stuff that kept hitters off balance and led to five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings.

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Strasburg was encouraged by his fastball command, but he also acknowledged that his curveball could use some fine tuning. He mixed in a few pitches that he wanted to work on, mainly his slider, and incorporated a few sequences he would not normally use during games, but overall felt satisfied with his outing and his progress this spring after his second Grapefruit League start.

"It's early," catcher Miguel Montero said. "But even though it's early, you can tell that he looks like he's in midseason form."

The Nationals want to ensure he stays in that form -- and well past midseason.

Video: Outlook: Strasburg eyes a 30-start season in 2018

Manager Dave Martinez said Thursday morning that the club is looking at potential options to manage Strasburg's workload. He would not commit to anything completely, but given Strasburg's injury history, Martinez understood it might be beneficial to give Strasburg an extra day of rest when necessary.

"Especially early on because of all the days off that we have," Martinez said of the plan to rest Strasburg. "But he's in a good place right now. He's doing well, and he feels great. So, we'll see how the end of spring goes and see where he's at."

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Stephen Strasburg