WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg has probably two or three starts left before he is done for the season and he can no longer claim he wasn't told the shutdown was coming, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Thursday.
Johnson said he spoke to Strasburg about the right-hander's innings limit Wednesday night on the flight home from a series against the Marlins.
"I said something to him on the plane, you know: 'You've got a few more to go,' " Johnson said.
Johnson said Strasburg is down to "probably … two or three" starts in his first full season since having reconstructive elbow surgery. GM Mike Rizzo has said Johnson will have an intuitive feel for when to pull the plug, but Johnson said a "pretty firm plan" is in place that is dependent on how long Strasburg stays in each game.
"He might pitch 10 innings one game, or he might just go five," Johnson said. "I asked 'Rizz,' 'Do you want me to hook him after three? Save some innings?' "
But such an early hook is not an option, Johnson said. He also ruled out sending Strasburg to the bullpen.
A-ROD REHAB: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, out for a month with a broken left hand, was set to begin his minor-league rehabilitation tonight for Class A Tampa, which plays at Lakeland at 7:11. In other Yankees news, the team extended its affiliation with Double-A Trenton for another eight years.
CLEMENS UPDATE: The Astros plan to watch RHP Roger Clemens' second outing for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League on Sept. 7, and there is "strong speculation in baseball" Clemens will pitch for Houston five days later, CBSSports.com reported.
L.A. CONCERN: Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley, who went on the disabled list last week with inflammation in his right elbow, might be out for the season, team president Stan Kasten said at a fan discussion.
LATE PLAYER'S BROTHER ACQUITTED: A Dutch court acquitted the brother of former Mariners OF Greg Halman of stabbing the player to death last year, saying he was temporarily insane at the time. Jason Halman "was in a state of psychosis at the time of the stabbing" and could therefore not be held accountable for his actions, the court in Rotterdam ruled. Greg Halman died after being stabbed in the neck Nov. 21 at an apartment in Rotterdam, reportedly after an argument over loud music.
PITCHING EXPERIMENT: The Rockies, who went to a four-man rotation with a 75-pitch limit in June, plan to continue using some form of that model next season, GM Dan O'Dowd said.
BREWERS: RHP Shaun Marcum left his start against the Cubs after four innings because of cramping in his right calf.
PHILLIES: LHP Cole Hamels, who was scratched from Wednesday's start with a gastrointestinal illness, was set to return to the rotation Sunday.
RED SOX: RHP Daniel Bard, a flop as a starter this season who was sent to Triple-A Pawtucket in June to work out of the bullpen, was recalled after posting a 7.03 ERA in 31 minor-league outings.
TWINS: CF Denard Span, a former Tampa Catholic standout, went on the 15-day disabled list after sitting out 13 of 17 games with shoulder pain.