Washington, DC – It came a little earlier than expected, but Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will not pitch again this season.
Strasburg didn't make it past the third inning of Friday's start against Miami and on Saturday manager Davey Johnson informed the 24-year-old blossoming ace of the team's decision.
"He's had a great year," said Johnson before Saturday's game against Miami. "My job is to do what's best for the player. This is what's best."
It was widely known that Strasburg would be shut down some time in September, as the club had decided to limit his innings in his first full season following Tommy John surgery.
Strasburg was tagged for five runs on six hits with three walks in just three innings of Washington's 9-7 loss to the Marlins on Friday, and Johnson had indicated after the game that the impending decision was likely weighing on the 15-game winner's mind.
"To be honest with you, I think he's just thinking too much about the decision of whether we are going to shut him down," Johnson had said after Friday's 10-inning loss. "He kind of wore it and he didn't like it."
In 28 starts this season, Strasburg has posted a record of 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA in 159 1/3 innings. It had been speculated that he had an innings limit of no more than 180, although the Nationals did not give an exact number.
Each time Strasburg took the mound in the past few weeks, the media had wondered aloud whether it would be his last outing.
Apparently, it was Friday.
"The media hype on this thing has been unbelievable," Johnson added Saturday. "I feel it's as hard for him as it would be anybody to get mentally, totally committed in the ballgame. And he's reached his innings limit. So we can get past this and talk about other things for a change."
John Lannan is expected to take Strasburg's spot in the rotation. The lefty, who twice made an Opening Day start for the Nationals, spent most of the 2012 season at Triple-A Syracuse. He made a pair of spot starts earlier this summer for the Nats and won both with a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings.