Tigers 4, Nationals 3

No one on the Washington Nationals cared about Stephen

Strasburg’s line on Friday. They were just glad he was OK.

Strasburg stayed on the mound after Prince Fielder’s liner went

off his left hand, pitching six innings in a 4-3 loss to the

Detroit Tigers.

The 24-year-old right-hander was hit in the fleshy part of his

hand, just below his glove. The play happened in the fourth

inning.

”I thought I could have caught it,” Strasburg said. ”It just

took a while for it to sink in that it hit me. It kind of got numb.

I just shook it out and it was just tender after that.”

After shaking off the injury and being cleared by team trainers,

he struck out two of the next three batters.

Manager Davey Johnson said he was just glad it was Strasburg’s

glove hand that was hit. He also said Strasburg did not have to

talk him into letting him stay in the game after he was examined by

a team trainer.

”It was a scare, no doubt about it,” Johnson said.

Strasburg, making his sixth spring start, gave up three runs and

seven hits. He struck out five and walked one.

Matt Tuiasosopo homered in the second inning for Detroit, and

Victor Martinez and Fielder each singled in a run in the fifth.

”I thought I pitched pretty well,” Strasburg said. ”I got

weak contact, it was just the story of (the game). They singled me

to death besides that home run early. That’s baseball.”

After letting Strasburg throw 89 pitches against Detroit,

Johnson said he likely will limit him to around 70 in his final

spring start on Wednesday so he doesn’t overwork him before the

start of the season.

Strasburg, meanwhile, is ready to go.

”I think my arm felt great today,” he said. ”My stamina is

there. I felt as strong and as loose as I was in the first inning

in the sixth. I definitely could have gone back out there for the

rest of the game, to be honest. It was a good sign. It’s going in

the right direction.”

Drew Smyly allowed one run and four hits in five innings for

Detroit. He is competing with Rick Porcello for the fifth spot in

the rotation.

It was a much better performance than his previous start against

Washington, when he was tagged for five runs and seven hits on

Sunday.

”You don’t take it kindly, especially when you’ve got to face

the same team in five days,” Smyly said. ”You’ve got to make

adjustments quick, or else the same thing will happen.”

Smyly focused on keeping his delivery more compact on Friday and

got the results he wanted. He retired the first 10 batters he faced

and finished with five strikeouts and no walks.

Ian Desmond homered for Washington’s only run against the

lefty.

”Sometimes, I kind of fly open, trying to throw a pitch too

good or too hard and leave it up in the zone,” Smyly said. ”I was

just really working on staying in and making sure I make a good

pitch down in the zone.”

Though he said he tries not to think about it between starts,

Smyly is eager to find out what manager Jim Leyland decides to do

about the rotation.

”I guess I’m just as eager as you guys,” he said. ”I guess it

will happen sooner or later. I don’t make that call, so all I can

do is keep trying to pitch well.”

NOTES: Rafael Soriano was scheduled to pitch, but Johnson said

the reliever was still feeling the effects a root canal on

Thursday. ”He’s recovering from a long day in the dentist’s

chair,” Johnson said. ”I sympathize with him.” Soriano was

expected to pitch Saturday against the Mets, but his name was

scratched off the Nationals’ travel roster. Johnson said the closer

will instead throw in a minor league game at the team’s training

complex. … The Nationals optioned RHP Cole Kimball to Triple-A

Syracuse and re-assigned RHP Jeremy Accardo to their minor league

camp. … LHP J.C. Romero, who signed a minor league contract with

Washington on Friday, pitched in five games for Puerto Rico in the

World Baseball Classic. Romero gave up two runs in 4 2-3 innings.

… Nationals OF Roger Bernadina made a spectacular catch in the

seventh inning to rob Jordan Lennerton. He received a standing

ovation from much of the home crowd. … Leyland said there was a

chance OF Andy Dirks (bruised right knee) could play Saturday

against the New York Yankees, but it was unlikely OF Avisail Garcia

(bruised right heel) would be available. … Leyland said he is

leaning a certain way on which pitchers will comprise his bullpen,

but he’s not revealing anything just yet. ”I have a pretty good

idea how it might play out, but I can’t say that for sure yet,” he

said. . Martinez and Fielder both had two hits and an RBI for the

Tigers.