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The Nationals hope Strasburg can help boost interest in the team. Since opening their $600 million-plus ballpark for the 2008 season, the Nationals have had a hard time attracting fans: They are averaging about 23,100 spectators this season, worse than all but two NL clubs.
Whatever the PR benefit to the signing, the Nationals are most excited about Strasburg's ability to throw a baseball.
After all, highly touted rookie starter Jordan Zimmermann needs reconstructive elbow surgery and is expected to be sidelined for the next 12 to 18 months. Plus, the five pitchers currently holding spots in Washington's starting rotation are a combined 16-23 with a 4.52 ERA this season.
"He's got the skill set that all front-of-the-rotation starting pitchers have. He's a big, physical guy. He throws extremely hard. He's got a solid repertoire of pitches and he throws them all for strikes," Rizzo said.
"Barring injury," the acting GM added, "this kid should have a long, illustrious career."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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