Nats to select Strasburg with #1 pick in June’s MLB draft

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman is reporting that the Washington Nationals will select San Diego State University pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the #1 overall pick in next month’s MLB amateur draft.

The feeling in baseball was that the Nationals might be scared off by the set negotiation price of $50-million-plus from Strasburg’s adviser Scott Boras to secure the youngster’s signature on a contract. But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore within the organization.

Acting Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wouldn’t guarantee who he’s taking, but said regarding Strasburg when reached by phone, “It’s fair to say, going into it, he’s the No. 1 player on our board. We can say it. There’s not anybody who can jump ahead of us.” Rizzo added. “He’s an outstanding talent. He’s got all the tools to be a great player.”
Rizzo wouldn’t absolutely commit since the draft is a month away. But he did say, “As of now, he’s the top guy.”

The Nats remain one of the worst teams in baseball, and recently brought up young pitchers Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmerman to gain major league experience in their starting rotation. Their hope for Strasburg is to join their rotation by July; scouts project him to be major-league ready coming out of college. Strasburg is 10-0 with 147 strikeouts and 15 walks for SDSU this season.

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Couch Potato Alert: 9/5

U.S. Open semifinals and finals
The men’s semifinals start at 12:00 PM ET on Saturday and the women’s final takes place at 8:00 PM ET that evening. The men’s final will take place on Sunday, starting at 4:00 PM. All matches will be broadcast on CBS. Here’s the TV schedule and Christopher Glotfelty’s preview of the matches.

San Diego State at Notre Dame
Both programs are reeling, hanging on for dear life, and just trying to find players to line up on the field. The Irish are on a roll, sort of, coming into this year’s opener with a modest two-game winning streak from last season. SDSU is coming off an embarrassing home-opening loss to Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo, which was their second home loss to the Mustangs in three seasons. This contest will played on Saturday in front of a nationally-televised audience on NBC at 3:30 PM ET.

Miami at Florida
This prime-time matchup used to be circled on the calendar of all college football fans as a must-see game with the winner gaining the advantage in the battle for the top recruits from the state of Florida. But times have changed; the Canes are coming off a 5-7 season, and just trying to get the program back on its feet. Oddly enough, Miami has a 12-8 all-time record at “The Swamp.” Tune in Saturday night at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN for another chapter in this in-state rivalry. [Official Smack Talk Thread]

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers
Less than a week ago, the Dodgers seemed to be free falling in the NL West pennant race. They lost 9-3 in the opener of a three-game series in Arizona, and things didn’t look good with the Diamondbacks starting Dan Haren and Brandon Webb that weekend. But the Dodgers turned their season around by scoring 13 runs against the Arizona’s top two pitchers and were able to win both games. The rematch is set for this weekend at Dodger Stadium, with Friday night’s game on ESPN and Saturday’s contest on Fox’s regional baseball telecast.

Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns
You could call this encounter “The Battle of the Media Darlings.” With five prime-time games this season, the Browns are trying to prove that their 10-6 record last season was no fluke. They play host to the Cowboys, who seem to be everyone’s fashionable Super Bowl pick. And if you’ve been watching “Hard Knocks” on HBO, you know that the Boys’ roster depth has taken a big with several pre-season injuries. Dallas fans shouldn’t be concerned, however, as every one of their 13 Pro Bowlers will be in uniform on Sunday. Check your local Fox listings to see if they are televising this game at 4:00 PM ET. [Anthony Stalter’s preview of the game.]

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