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Strasburg down to last 2 or 3 starts, Nationals' Johnson says

The SportsXchange

The Washington Nationals appear to be getting closer to their shutdown point for pitcher Stephen Strasburg -- even though the team still won't say exactly when that will come.

Manager Davey Johnson told the media before Thursday's win over the Cardinals that Strasburg probably has two or three more starts remaining before the team shuts him down.

Johnson said he talked with Strasburg about this while the team was coming back from Miami. If everything stays the same, calendar-wise, his final start would probably be no later than Sept. 12 against the Mets.

The manager said he's not going to try to keep Strasburg on the mound this year. He confirmed that team officials have a plan and are sticking to it.

They're just not saying much about it.

Strasburg is at 150 1/3 innings. So if he goes about six innings in three more starts, he would close out the season around 168 innings. And that would put him right in the middle of the 160-180 innings range people have been talking about for a while.

This is going to wind up as one of the most controversial and talked-about decisions of this season. It could cost the Natonals in the postseason.

But GM Mike Rizzo said from the beginning that they were going to shut Strasburg down, same as right-hander Jordan Zimmermann last year.

And that's what they're doing. The details and final picture are starting to come together.

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