The Nationals made Stephen Strasburg available to media on Saturday, despite the team's exhibition game with the Detroit Tigers being canceled due to rain. Strasburg held court at the podium for about 10 minutes, looking both back and forward on his career.
I went in-depth on his expectations for Monday in New York in this article, but here is a clip from the press conference that aired on Comcast SportsNet over the weekend.
I also wanted to pass along a few quotes from both Strasburg and Matt Williams - who also talked to media on Saturday - regarding Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and the Atlanta Braves.
First, here is Strasburg on what he has seen change in Desmond over the years:
"I think he's a general out there on the field. He's a guy that has learned through playing this game for a few years how to stay steady and stay even-keeled. Just to have that guy in the clubhouse to lean on is huge for a lot of the young guys, including myself. He wasn't always like that. I remember when he first came up he was really intense. You could really tell one bad at-bat affected him. Now, I think it's great, you wouldn't really know if he went 0-for-4 or 4-for-4. He's the same guy either way."
Pretty good stuff there. I also thought Williams' thoughts on Espinosa making the roster were very interesting. See for yourself:
"I'm happy about that. He's a valuable piece. I think he's a valuable piece to this club. He brings a lot to the table. Not only defensively, but offensively for us. He's able to play all around the diamond and plays Gold Glove-caliber defense wherever he plays. That's a big part of our team. I think he came in focused, I think he came in with the idea of making the club, and he worked very hard. That's good for him. I'm glad to see that."
Williams was also asked about the Braves and how the Nationals will likely compete with them for the division this season. They aren't exactly fighting words, but you can tell the skipper is excited to join what is turning into a very good MLB rivalry:
"Last year was a fantastic season for the Braves. They started off well and played well certainly throughout the season. We certainly want to start well this year, too. It makes for a good rivalry. It makes for fun baseball. We'll see what we can do. I'm excited about it, though. We all are.
"They played really well. It's a good team. We'll see if we can give them a run this year."