WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson indicated on Wednesday that right-hander Stephen Strasburg will miss the last two to three starts of the 2012 regular season.
Johnson said that he was in a meeting with general manager Mike Rizzo and they came to the conclusion that they would need a starter to replace Strasburg for at least two or three starts. It already has been reported that Strasburg will not participate in the postseason, with the Nats going with a four-man rotation in October.
Strasburg is on an innings limit after having Tommy John surgery in late 2010. He could pitch between 160 to 180 innings, and he has thrown 145 1/3 innings after Tuesday night's win.
If he misses the last three starts of the regular season, Strasburg's final start could be Sept. 12 against the Mets. If Strasburg misses the final two starts, his last start could be on Sept. 19 against the Dodgers, if the Nats stay with their five-man rotation without skipping anyone's turn despite two team off-days, on Sept. 13 and 17.
"I don't think the innings and numbers are cut in stone. The science is not exact. So, there is a little leeway there," Johnson said, "But that is down the road."
Strasburg has yet to be told the team's plans, but he is expected to be told before his last start of the season.
In his start on Tuesday, Strasburg had a great outing in a 4-1 victory over the Braves. He dealt with a 51-minute rain delay after pitching 2 2/3 innings. After the delay, Strasburg was back on the mound and struck out six more batters, including the side in the fifth inning. He struck out a total of 10 batters in six innings to earn his 15th win of the season.
Strasburg makes adjustment in handling wet weather
WASHINGTON --- On Tuesday, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg pitched in the rain for the second time this season. But this time, he had positive results in a 4-1 victory.
Strasburg didn't allow a run in 2 2/3 innings before a 51-minute rain delay, then came out strong and finished with 10 strikeouts and one run allowed over six innings in his 15th win of the year.
The first time Strasburg was in a rain delay was on May 15 against the Padres at Nationals Park. It started raining in the first inning, and Strasburg had serious problems gripping the baseball. He ended up throwing 39 pitches in the first inning, with John Baker hitting a two-run single with the bases loaded after an eight-minute rain delay.
Strasburg decided to do things differently after it started raining on Tuesday against the Braves. Instead of hiding the baseball behind his back before throwing a pitch, Strasburg put the ball in front of him to prevent a lot of water from hitting the ball.
"This time, I really wanted to trust the grip," Strasburg said. "Even though there was circumstances of delay, I just wanted to go out there and give it everything I had and commit to every pitch and just let the chips fall," Strasburg said.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.