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Strasburg likely to start Saturday vs. Rockies

Aug 6, 2015, 3:41 PM EDT

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Stephen Strasburg is likely to come off the disabled list and start Saturday night against the Rockies, a potential boost to a Nationals rotation that has yet to live up to its sky-high expectations this season.

Though the club hasn’t made an official announcement yet, manager Matt Williams acknowledged that Strasburg is lined up to start the second game of this weekend’s series vs. Colorado.

“We’ve got some options,” Williams said before Thursday’s game against Arizona. “Certainly his day falls Saturday. But he’ll go out and do his drills today and be sure. We’ll have a better idea after he’s done with that. He felt OK coming out of [Tuesday’s] bullpen, so we have to make sure that he’s good today and then we can decide for sure. But his day certainly falls on Saturday.”

Strasburg has been out since July 4, when a strained left oblique muscle landed him on the DL for the second time this season. (He sat out earlier with a neck strain.) Overall, he sports a 5.16 ERA in 13 starts this year, but he offered ample reason for optimism during his brief time between DL stints, allowing only two runs in 15 2/3 innings while striking out 18 batters.

Strasburg also impressed during a rehab start for Class AAA Syracuse on Monday, striking out 11 without walking a batter during 5 2/3 innings that included 85 pitches.

The more-pressing question for the Nationals now is who to remove from the rotation with Strasburg ready to return. If he starts Saturday, he’d be taking Doug Fister’s turn, but the struggling veteran easily could be bumped back a day and start Sunday, with everyone else in the rotation doing likewise.

Joe Ross, who starts Thursday afternoon against the Diamondbacks, could be demoted to the minors after this outing, with the organization looking to limit the 22-year-old’s workload and innings count.

“Once we have an idea on Stras for sure, we’ll be able to make adjustments with everybody else,” Williams said. “But as of right now, we haven’t made that decision. That’ll probably happen after today. That’s where we’re at right now.”

  1. jd - Aug 6, 2015 at 3:49 PM

    Mark,

    I don’t understand the conclusion that since Ross has an innings limit it should be controlled in the minors. To me if he’s the more effective pitcher let’s use those innings up here where every game is precious.

  2. TimDz - Aug 6, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    I think Fister may be making a return to the DL with a yet to be determined ailment…

    • alexva6 - Aug 6, 2015 at 4:07 PM

      and I think Fister is actually still injured,

      maybe not to the extent as earlier this year but not fully recovered by any means

  3. Karl Kolchak - Aug 6, 2015 at 6:38 PM

    This team could sure use a boost, but replacing Ross with Strasburg is a wash at best given how well the latter has pitched. The Nats are in a dogfight–not saying they should pitch the rookie’s arm off, but he gives the team a better chance to win right now than does Fister and probably even Gio.

  4. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 6, 2015 at 6:40 PM

    It would be interesting to find out whether Ross’s impressive makeup translates to, say, middle innings. He’s already used to pitching the sixth. Just saying.

    I know, I know, starting and relieving are way different. So don’t bother writing in.

  5. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 6, 2015 at 6:49 PM

    Inadvertent REPORT COMMENT there. Sorry.

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 6, 2015 at 6:50 PM

    I liked Whitey Herzog’s take, when Sutter left the Cardinals.

    ‘I just got 20 games dumber,’ Herzog said,

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