WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was in a great mood at NatsFest on Saturday -- and for good reason. Three months after having arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow, Strasburg told the local media that he is 100 percent healthy and will not be in rehab mode when Spring Training starts next month.
"I feel great. Normal schedule. Doing my throwing, lifting, running, the whole shebang," Strasburg said. "Just kind of getting ready for Spring Training with no problems."
Despite having elbow problems last season, Strasburg put up respectable numbers, making 30 starts, pitching 183 innings and compiling a 3.00 ERA. His arm was healthy enough for game action, but Strasburg had a tough time straightening out the arm after games and in bullpen sessions.
"At the time, I really didn't know what it was, it kind of slowly crept up. I couldn't straighten my arm out as much," Strasburg said. "It's kind of something that happened, and I'm not going to change the way I go out there and approach the game. … If I win or lose, that's all I can really do."
Although he has accomplished a lot in two full seasons in the big leagues, Strasburg is looking to make improvements. He wants to work on his pick-off moves. Like most of the pitchers on the Nats' staff, Strasburg often was unable to keep opponents from stealing a base. He also wants to work on his timing in the stretch and on commanding his fastball on both sides of the plate.
"I'm trying to take that next evolution, trying to get more complete," Strasburg said.
As he makes these improvements, Strasburg is pleased that Steve McCatty is returning as the pitching coach. It's no secret that McCatty, entering his fifth full season in the role, is considered a father figure to much of the Nationals' staff.
"Having Cat there in my corner -- other people in the organization will say the same thing -- he is the type of guy that you could trust," Strasburg said. "If you go out there and get shelled or you go out there and pitch well, he is not going to treat you any differently."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats.