Strasburg ready for major challenge

Updated: March 20, 2010, 3:06 PM ET
By Keith Law

After three spring training starts, the Washington Nationals sent prized pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg to Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday. In his three starts, Strasburg went 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA, allowing eight hits while walking one and striking out 12 in nine innings.

In sending him down, the Nationals cited the risks of making the jump directly from amateur baseball to the majors, as well as the need to slow down his delivery from the stretch. In recent years, top prospects such as Evan Longoria and Matt Wieters have started the year in the minors primarily to delay their eligibility for salary arbitration.