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Strasburg shutdown begins one start early

WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg's season is over after the Nationals decided to shut down the right-hander following a shaky start against the Marlins.

Manager Davey Johnson made the announcement Saturday morning, citing the effect of the media attention surrounding the impending shutdown on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft.

"I just told Stephen that his year is over. He's had a great year. I know what he's growing through," Johnson said. "The media hype on this thing has been unbelievable. I feel it's as hard for him as it would be anybody to get mentally, totally committed in the ball game. And he's reached his innings limit. So we can get past this and talk about other things for a change."

Johnson said Strasburg, 24, was "emotional" about the decision to end his season immediately.

"He's one heck of a pitcher, and he's a heck of a competitor," Johnson said. "I know he's been struggling with it for weeks. I know he doesn't sleep good thinking about it."

The NL East-leading Nats had said Wednesday's start at the Mets likely would be his final appearance of the season. RHP John Lannan will make that start and remain in the rotation.

Johnson said the decision was his, and pitching coach Steve McCatty and general manager Mike Rizzo were in agreement.

McCarthy improving

OAKLAND, Calif. — Brandon McCarthy is back to his Twitter-happy self, a positive sign for the Athletics right-hander struck in the head by a line drive last week.

McCarthy, 29, endured two hours of surgery late Wednesday to relieve pressure on the brain after the ball hit by the Angels' Erick Aybar struck the right side of his head. He had an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture.

McCarthy joked: "The good news in all of this, is that I set up my fantasy lineups beforehand. So there shall be no excuses at this point."

BLOW TO O'S: Orioles RF Nick Markakis will be out for at least six weeks with a broken left thumb after being hit by a pitch from Yankees LHP CC Sabathia. The injury will keep him out of the rest of the regular season and deep into the playoffs, should Baltimore qualify.

KEMP AILING: Dodgers CF Matt Kemp received a cortisone injection in his inflamed left shoulder and hopes he will return as soon as Tuesday against Arizona.

ANGELS: RHP Jered Weaver, sidelined with right biceps tendinitis, told the Los Angeles Times that he has felt shoulder discomfort since an Aug. 6 start against the A's. Weaver has a 6.14 ERA in five starts since then.

CARDINALS: RF Matt Carpenter left in the third inning after suffering cuts to his hands when his bat broke.

CUBS: C Steve Clevenger was suspended for one game by Major League Baseball for his role in a benches-clearing incident Thursday against the Nationals.

METS: Rookie RHP Matt Harvey will make two more starts before being shut down for the season, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. Harvey, 23, has pitched 157⅓ innings after throwing 135⅔ in his first pro season.

ROCKIES: SS Troy Tulowitzki, who hasn't played since May 30 because of a left groin strain that required surgery, is expected to return to the lineup Monday.

Strasburg shutdown begins one start early 09/08/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 9, 2012 12:46am]

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