Stephen Strasburg is ready - and so is the Washington Nationals' ticket office.
The Nationals said after yesterday'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 righthander is first scheduled to start for Triple A Syracuse at Buffalo on Thursday. General manager Mike Rizzo told mlb.com 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.
In other news:
* The St. Louis Cardinals returned to a 12-man pitching staff, recalling outfielder Allen Craig from Triple A Memphis.
Lefthander Evan MacLane was optioned back to the minors.
_ The Chicago Cubs brought up top pitching prospect Andrew Cashner from Triple A Iowa and placed lefthanded reliever John Grabow on the disabled list with left knee inflammation.
* At Miami, Cody Ross hit a three-run home run to spark Florida's biggest inning this year, Cameron Maybin hit an inside-the-park homer to help turn the game into a runaway and the Marlins erased an early four-run deficit in beating the Milwaukee Brewers, 13-5.
After the game, the Brewers made room to reinstate outfielder Jim Edmonds (strained left side muscle) from the disabled list, optioning outfielder Adam Stern to Triple A Nashville.
_ At Houston, Carlos Maldonado and Ryan Zimmerman hit three-run homers off Chris Sampson, long after Roy Oswalt was ejected, and Washington put together the highest scoring inning in Nationals' history for a 14-4 win over the Astros.
* At Pittsburgh, pinch-hitter Bobby Crosby singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Garrett Jones homered and the Pirates ended a five-game losing streak by beating the Chicago Cubs, 2-1.
* At San Francisco, Ubaldo Jimenez pitched a four-hitter to become the majors' first 10-game winner this year, outpitching Tim Lincecum (5-2) to lead the Colorado Rockies past the San Francisco Giants, 4-0.
Jimenez (10-1) struck out nine, lowered his big league-best ERA to 0.78.
* At St. Louis, Albert Pujols continued his torrid hitting, rookie Jaime Garcia overcame a shaky start, and the Cardinals knocked out Bronson Arroyo in the fifth inning of a 12-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds, forging a first-place tie in the NL Central.
* At Los Angeles, a balk by Esmerling Vasquez allowed Casey Blake to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Dodgers a 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.