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Strasburg fine after bullpen, will start Wednesday vs. Mets

Sep 3, 2015, 6:00 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images file

Stephen Strasburg threw off the bullpen mound at Nationals Park on Thursday afternoon and emerged with no problems, though the club will hold him from starting again until the finale of next week’s do-or-die series with the Mets.

Strasburg, who departed his last outing Sunday with neck tightness, received treatment and quickly returned to his regular between-starts program. That included throwing sessions on flat ground both Tuesday and Wednesday in St. Louis. The Nationals wanted him to throw a bullpen session, though, before letting him make another start, so that knocked him out of his originally scheduled outing Friday night against the Braves.

Rather than bring him back sometime this weekend against Atlanta, the Nationals decided to stick with their original plan and have Strasburg pitch Wednesday’s series finale against the Mets, with Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmermann lined up ahead of him for those three critical games against the NL East leaders.

“If all goes well, of course,” Williams said. “But that’s the plan.”

Tanner Roark will take Strasburg’s turn Friday against the Braves after a pair of minor-league appearances designed to build his arm back up after spending most of the season in the major-league bullpen. Roark wound up pitching only two innings Monday night for Class AA Harrisburg so he would be able to bounce back and start for the Nationals only four days later. That will limit his pitch count on Friday to roughly 85.

“Depending on stressful innings, he can get us through five innings,” Williams said. “Six, potentially, if he’s pinpoint control and if he’s getting early outs. But again, we’re not going to necessarily push him to 110 tomorrow. He’s not ready for that. We’ll see how it goes.”

With Zimmermann starting Thursday night and Roark following on Friday, the Nationals’ rotation for the rest of the weekend will include Gio Gonzalez and then Joe Ross.

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