WASHINGTON (AP) About a half-hour before game time on the days Stephen Strasburg starts at home for the Washington Nationals, he emerges from the dugout and walks along the right-field line with pitching coach Steve McCatty, hearing cheers from spectators along the way.
Strasburg might tote a plastic water bottle in his back pocket; McCatty usually drapes a white towel over a shoulder. When they arrive at the outfield's far corner, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound right-hander stretches. He'll limber up by tossing a baseball there before moving into the bullpen to warm up in earnest while McCatty watches with arms crossed.
Eventually, Strasburg heads to the mound at the center of the diamond for his final preparatory throws. The Nationals Park announcer introduces the fielders, finishing with Strasburg's name, as the heavy-driving bass of the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" fills the stadium.