Johnson: Lannan will get relief "tuneup" before returning to rotation

The plan for the Nationals moving forward after September 12 is starting to take shape.

On Sunday, manager Davey Johnson announced that Stephen Strasburg would have two more starts. During the season, many believed left-hander John Lannan would take Strasburg's place in the rotation once Strasburg was shut down.

Tuesday, Johnson talked about the schedule for Lannan and when his first start will be since returning.

"I talked to John today," Johnson said. "I gave him a rough idea of when he would probably get a start, probably the Atlanta series after September 12. I told him I felt like after the long season, and he pitched a heck of a game last time out. I wasn't even going to worry about getting him in a game until the next time he was supposed to pitch, which would be another five days."

Johnson said they will skip Lannan's turn in the rotation this week. That start would have been today. He said he will wait five more days and then think about using Lannan in a game in a relief role. So, that would mean Lannan could be available for Sunday's home stand finale against Miami. Lannan has gone 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two games so far this season.

Johnson would not elaborate the exact date of Lannan's next start. Strasburg's vacancy in the rotation would open up September 19, but Johnson has a different plan.

"With all the days off in there, it doesn't necessarily have to follow that he would pitch on Strasburg's day, I could do whatever I want to do," Johnson said.

Johnson was asked why the Atlanta series for Lannan. Would it be because he has had success against the Braves?

"Probably."

Johnson said they would like to give Lannan some rest and then get him into a game without it having to be a start.

"He can catch his breath," Johnson said. "Give him time to adjust. His tuneup would probably be out of the pen. He doesn't have an aversion to pitching out of the pen. He just didn't want to pitch out of the pen to start the season."

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