Stephen Strasburg's schedule the rest of the way
Manager Jim Riggleman confirmed Stephen Strasburg will start every five days -- not games -- until shortly before the All-Star break. After the All-Star break, while limiting Strasburg's major league innings to somewhere between 100 and 110, the Nationals plan on spacing his starts out in order to keep Strasburg pitching into September.
"Guys who have been here -- Livo, Atilano, Lannan -- they've been carrying the load," Riggleman said. "Stephen has been down below, he's been throwing 50-some pitches, 70-some pitches -- a little lighter load. I think it's a great time for him to stay on this schedule that he's on."
Unless weather or injury alters the Nationals' plan, Strasburg's next five starts will come June 13 in Cleveland, June 18 at home against the White Sox, June 23 at home against the Royals, June 28 at Atlanta and July 3 at home against the Mets.
While the Nationals will rely on Strasburg for the immediate future, they will rest him often after the All-Star break. "There will be a point where we just shut him down for a while or really minimize his innings," Riggleman said. "We want him to pitch in September, so some of that shutdown may be before September."
If the Nationals remain in contention deep into the year, shutting down Strasburg will become a welcome dilemma. The Nationals will shut him down once he reaches 160 innings -- minors and majors combined -- no matter what, even if it means sitting their best pitcher in a playoff race.
"That would be very hard," Riggleman said. "I hope we have to make that decision. That would be tough, but we want to make sure this young man is pitching for years to come. We may be being overcautious, but we'll err on that side."
The day after his start, Strasburg played in the rain in the Nationals Park outfield with starter Luis Atilano and tried his best to blend in. On Tuesday night, he celebrated by simply going home. "I needed some sleep," he said. With everything whirling around him, Strasburg managed to enjoy his first night as a major leaguer.
"It was a total blast," Strasburg said. "It was something that I've been waiting for my entire life and going out in front of a big crowd, and everybody's behind me and behind this team, it was an amazing feeling. I'm going to remember it for the rest of my life."
While adjusting to his new team, Strasburg has tried avoiding the massive attention heaped on him. His start ranked next to -- if not ahead of -- the NBA Finals in the sporting scene.
"I used to watch 'SportsCenter' all the time," Strasburg said. "Now there's just too much to watch, so I'm trying to find new channels to watch."
As Strasburg warily met with the media, he smiled when Livan Hernandez snuck into the media pack and grabbed a television reporters' microphone. Hernandez asked Strasburg how his family felt watching him.
"They were pretty excited for me," Strasburg said. "My dad, it was probably the first time I saw him break into tears a little bit, so it was pretty cool to see. I was just very happy to have them out here."
June 9, 2010; 6:25 PM ET
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