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Stephen Strasburg will start first game after all-star break

Stephen Strasburg will start the Nationals' first game after the all-star break at the Florida Marlins and then remain on a typical schedule for the remainder of the season, Manager Jim Riggleman said. The Nationals are beginning their second half with Strasburg -- and following him with Livan Hernandez -- in an effort to to boost a clubhouse clinging to faint hopes of contention.

"These veteran guys, they want to win ballgames," Mananger Jim Riggleman said. "If we don't send out our best early, those first two days, then we're sending the wrong message to our ballclub."

The Nationals originally had planned to stretch out the time between Strasburg's starts in order to let him pitch for the entire season while not exceeding his prescribed 160-inning limit. They changed their approach, though, and will simply pitch him every fifth game.

"When the innings are done, they're done" Riggleman said. "We want to win. Our players want to win. I think we need to send a message that we're going to finish up strong this weekend as best we can and open up as strong as we can after the break."


Strasburg has thrown 92 innings total between the minors and majors and has 68 left, likely meaning he will make 10 or 11 more starts. Strasburg has averaged slightly more than six innings in the majors -- 36 2/3 innings in six starts -- and would make 10 more appearances if he continues at that rate.

UPDATED, 4:55:

The Nationals are planning to pitch Strasburg on a normal rotation -- every fifth day, unless an off day pushes his rest to a sixth day. Here's what his schedule would look like under that schedule:

JULY
16 at Florida
21 at Cincinnati
27 vs Atlanta

AUGUST
1 vs Philadelphia
6 at Los Angeles
12 vs Florida
18 at Atlanta
23 vs Chicago
28 vs St. Louis

SEPTEMBER
3 at Pittsburgh

Now, as we've all learned, pitching rotations can always change due to weather and/or injury, so this schedule should not be viewed as a hammerlock guide as to when to buy tickets. This is just what would happen if everything goes exactly to plan and nothing intercedes to alter that plan. It would provide a nice symmetry if Strasbrug finishes his season with the Pirates, the team he debuted against on June 8.

Strasburg had no input in his second-half schedule -- "about as much as Kilgore," is seriously how Riggleman explained it -- and had little reaction when told.

"He's just ready to go," Riggleman said. "He just wants to pitch. He's the perfect young man to be up here. No matter what happens, he's working hard. He's prepared. If we told him he wasn't going to pitch for three weeks, he would be very upset about it but respectfully not say anything."

After Strasburg finishes his season, he will remain with the Nationals and travel with them. He will still work with pitching coach Steve McCatty. During games, the Nationals want him to learn opposing batters and "accumulate information" on the rest of the league, Riggleman said.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 9, 2010; 4:25 PM ET
Categories:  Pitching rotation , Stephen Strasburg  
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Next: Justin Maxwell scratched in Syracuse

Comments

Every fifth GAME or every fifth DAY? There is a big difference....

Posted by: Y2kob | July 9, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"These veteran guys, they want to win," Mananger Jim Riggleman said. "If we don't send our best out there, we're sending the wrong message to our ballclub."

I'm having a hard time reconciling this statement with tonight's lineup. What message is Riggleman trying to send to his players anyway, milk and cookies after the game win or lose?

Posted by: nunof1 | July 9, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

BTW none of the starters needs an offday today. They've got 2 or 3 vacation days coming next week. Riggleman is just a jerk. Can't believe I paid good money to see the 3 stooges play---Nieves, Harris, Kennedy with King stooge Riggleman. Could someone make a 3 stooges shirt for the Nats. I'll be the first in line to buy it.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 9, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

This coming from a guy who's starting Willie Harris tonight.

Posted by: Rhino20 | July 9, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman better start displaying more win now actions, rather than just words or he won't be here next year.

I starting to think that might be a good thing.

Posted by: hapster | July 9, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey, dove, you need help. Serious help. Maybe a therapist can help you in a way that this message board cannot? Please start your boycott, as promised. I come here to read about baseball - not your inability to put baseball disappointments into perspective.

Posted by: hooverama | July 9, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

If Willie's going to reach the .100 BA mark, he needs more ABs. He just isn't making enough outs at this pace.

Posted by: lesatcsc | July 9, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I understand the Natinals caution with him but see no reason at all limit him to a 160 inning season, he's not 18, he pitched in college and will be fine, hopefully they will come to their sense and let him reasonably fiish the season with his team mates. He's not a boy but a man let him play, if he's tired sit him, if he's fine play him. We are not talking about Kerry Woods and that severe over use be careful sure, but not too careful let the man pitch. Good luck Nats in the second half, Dunn is really on a roll and the Zim & company are soon to be back. Let's GO NATS

Posted by: mfowler1 | July 9, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

fowler, the whole point to the inning thing is to step his innings thrown per year up to a normal level. 160 innings is something like 20% more than he's ever thrown, hence a significant increase to the wear and stress on his arm. Next year, add another 15-20%, then probably 2012 he's going 220 if needed.

I agree I'm not sure "he" needs that specific limit, but all in all, we're not making a WS run this year, so who cares? Why care? It is much more important that he not get injured and be ready in 11 or 12 to make a serious playoff run. 2010 isn't that year. And considering the pitchers we have coming back, I'm looking at next year as a movement year, to 2nd in the East, and 12 as the year to seriously think about winning the East with SS, JZ, RD, and whomever wins the 4/5 spots race

Posted by: Rogueone | July 9, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

how is the crow tasting for all you haters??

Dove, you need to lighten up, pretty sure Riggleman is not a jerk and I am guessing you have no personal contact to back that kind of statement up. You can disagree with how he manages without all the hatred.

go nats

Posted by: sjm3091 | July 9, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Ya gotta just love some of these naysayers and know it alls. Get a life, go Nats and keep managing J.R. You are the MAN.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 10, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

All the Willie Harris haters should watch the games. These guys need playing time and Pudge needs some rest. Nieves may be at best a lifetime backup but he still got a key hit. Go Nats.

Posted by: leedcertified | July 10, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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