Stephen Strasburg fired 93 pitches through the brisk evening air tonight, which for him represented something more than a typical spring training checkpoint. In his major league career, Strasburg had surpassed that 93-pitch mark in only 24 starts. He has not often carried that kind of workload, and now he can.

“He’s a regular guy,” Manager Davey Johnson said afterward. “I treat him like everybody else. He’s a big machine.”

Even on March 16, two weeks and two days before he’ll make his second opening day start, Johnson sent Strasburg out for the sixth inning after he threw 81 pitches in the first five. For his 86th pitch, Strasburg fired a fastball over the outside corner to Brett Wallace. Behind home plate, a scout’s radar gun lit up with the answer to the question, “How’s his elbow?”: 97.