Strasburg to make debut against Pirates on June 8

HOUSTON (AP) — Stephen Strasburg is ready — and so is the Washington Nationals' ticket office.

The Nationals said after Monday's 14-4 win over Houston that their prized pitching prospect will make his major league debut against Pittsburgh on June 8 at Nationals Park.

The 21-year-old right-hander is first scheduled to start for Triple-A Syracuse at Buffalo on Thursday. General manager Mike Rizzo told that Strasburg will throw six innings, or 95 pitches. Rizzo told the website that he, pitching coordinator Spin Williams and pitching coach Steve McCatty mapped out a specific plan for Strasburg at spring training.

"We believe he is ready to go," Rizzo said. "We like that Stephen could bounce back from tough outings."

The Nationals, 24th in the majors in attendance, wasted no time promoting the date. They sent out an e-mail to fans titled "Breaking News" and announcing a "New Era 4-game flex plan" tied to Strasburg's arrival. They also noted the "expected large crowds" for the June 8 game and encouraged to buy their tickets in advance.

Strasburg, the No. 1 pick in last year's draft, is 3-1 with a 1.27 ERA in five Triple-A starts. In 10 minor league starts, including five with Double-A Harrisburg, Strasburg is 6-2 with a 1.43 ERA, with 60 strikeouts in 50 1-3 innings.

The two-time All-American from San Diego State star allowed three runs and six hits in five-plus innings against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday night.

Strasburg signed a record $15.1 million, four-year contract with the Nationals after he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft.