Johnson says Strasburg to Hagerstown again Monday, then Syracuse

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said right-hander Stephen Strasburg will make his fourth rehab start Monday night in Hagerstown for the Suns against Hickory. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at Municipal Stadium.

Johnson said Strasburg would be scheduled to go four innings and maximum of 65 pitches. He also said that Strasburg would then go to Syracuse August 27 and pitch for the Chiefs in his fifth rehab start.

Strasburg will throw Friday at Nationals Park. Johnson and Nationals pitching coaches will get to see how he pitches in that side session.

Johnson said he was not concerned about Strasburg giving up five runs in just five outs Wednesday night in Hagerstown.

"The only thing you are concerned about is him getting his pitches in. It is a thrill for those young hitters," Johnson said. "I am sure they were leaving the box swinging to (try) to get a hit off the caliber of guy like Strasburg, or even get a foul tip. I am not worried about anything like that. It is just him getting his work in. Success or failure doesn't have anything to do with his rehabilitation."

Johnson believes that would be Strasburg's final two starts in the minors.

"After two more starts, he should possibly be up to throwing about 80 pitches and that is what you would normally have a guy...starting the year out of spring training up in the big leagues," Johnson said.

"He will be ready for that. I think his minor league (30-day) rehab stint is over Sept. 6. I am sure we will make a decision probably jointly with when Jordan Zimmermann is finishing up his stint here."

Zimmermann is at 145 pitches and goes Thursday. Presumably, Zimmermann would have three starts left, averaging five inning per start. Johnson said they don't have a problem with Zimmermann going slightly over the inning max of 160.

That leaves the possible dates for Strasburg to make his return to the majors as Sept. 2, 6 or 7. The Nationals begin an extended home stand Sept. 2 against the New York Mets that runs through Sept. 11 against the Houston Astros, which includes four games against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Nationals could have Strasburg make a final minor league rehab start Sept. 1 and then call him up for the Sept. 6 game against the Dodgers, the same day his 30-day rehab window would expire.

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