Manager Jim Riggleman laid out the Nationals' rotation plan from now until around the All-Star break today, and in light of the plan to pitch Stephen Strasburg every five days, here's how the rotation looks at this point: John Lannan, Livan Hernandez, Luis Atilano, J.D. Martin and Strasburg.
The Nationals flipped Atilano and Martin in the rotation, which will affect the order I posted earlier today. But the point is the same -- Strasburg will move up in the rotation and be the No. 2 starter by the All-Star break, pitching behind Lannan.
The goal with Strasburg, Riggleman said, is to keep him pitching all the way through September. He will get around 100 innings in the major leagues left, and to keep him going all the way through the month, the Nationals may skip him for a start here and there in July or August, Riggleman said.
"We want him to pitch in September, so some of that shutdown may be before September," Riggleman said.
But if Strasburg reaches 110 big-league innings at any point? "He's done," Riggleman said.
And don't expect a possible playoff run to change the Nationals' minds, though Riggleman did admit how tempting it would be to keep Strasburg in the rotation.
"That would be very hard. I hope we have to make that decision," Riggleman said. "That would be tough, but we want to make sure this young man is pitching for years to come. We may be being overcautious, but we'll err on that side."
Strasburg's take on the plan? "You know, it's not for me to decide," he said. "I'm going out there trying to answer the bell every time out and that's the bottom line."