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Nationals to put Strasburg on short leash next season

WASHINGTON — Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg will be on an innings limit next season as he continues his comeback from reconstructive elbow surgery.

"I've already calculated it, semi-calculated it, in my mind with our medical staff and our pitching people," general manager Mike Rizzo said Sunday. "We've already discussed it."

Rizzo didn't say what the limit will be.

"We're still at the beginning of that process. We want to find out how he feels at the end of the season and where he's at. We'll calculate it and see what's a comfortable amount for him," Rizzo said.

Strasburg had his ligament-replacement operation in September 2010 then returned to the majors this month. He is 0-1 with a 2.00 ERA, zero walks and 14 strikeouts in 18 innings heading into the fifth start of his comeback Wednesday at the Marlins on the last day of the regular season.

Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann, who had the same surgery as Strasburg in August 2009, was shut down this season after reaching his innings limit. He had 1611/3 innings, making his last start Aug. 28.

With Strasburg and Zimmermann set for next year's rotation, and the lineup taking shape, Rizzo looked ahead to the offseason by declaring: "I think we're an outfield bat away and a starting pitcher away from really being a contender in the division."

D'BACKS: RF Justin Upton was hit on the front of the helmet by Giants RHP Tim Lincecum in the first inning and left in the second. Neurological tests were negative, and he is listed day to day.

DODGERS: LHP Clayton Kershaw virtually clinched the NL's pitching Triple Crown. He is tied with Diamondbacks RHP Ian Kennedy for the lead with 21 wins and leads the NL with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts.

INDIANS: If Jim Thome is retiring, he made his last appearance in Cleveland as a third baseman. The 41-year-old took the position for one pitch in the ninth inning in his team's home finale. He started his career at third in 1991.

MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez sported a dark bruise a few inches above his right wrist a day after being hit by a line drive but said he's okay.

RED SOX: RHP Clay Buchholz, out since June 16 because of a stress fracture in his lower back, is scheduled to pitch an inning today in fall instructional league and could be cleared to return to the big leagues as a long reliever on Wednesday. … RF J.D. Drew was activated off the 15-day disabled list and was in the lineup for the doubleheader nightcap against the Yankees.

ROCKIES: RF Carlos Gonzalez, who has soreness in his right wrist and had a wisdom tooth extracted last week, is unlikely to play again this season. … The team had a franchise-record 25 hits in a 19-3 win over the Astros.

ROYALS: RH closer Joakim Soria is likely to be shut down for the season because of a hamstring strain.

Nationals to put Strasburg on short leash next season 09/25/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 25, 2011 10:09pm]

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