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Strasburg hears the ugly truth from Nationals

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Sports,MLB,Nationals,Kevin Dunleavy

Rizzo, Johnson, McCatty meet with ace on shutdown

On Labor Day morning, Stephen Strasburg found out why he won't be laboring much longer in the rotation of the Washington Nationals.

Strasburg finally met with manager Davey Johnson, general manager Mike Rizzo and pitching coach Steve McCatty about his shutdown Monday. He will start only two more games -- Friday at home against the Miami Marlins and Sept. ?12 in New York against the Mets.

Johnson announced that timeframe for the controversial shutdown after Strasburg pitched six shutout innings against the Cardinals on Sunday. The 24-year-old right-hander has a 15-6 record with a 2.94 ERA and leads the National League in strikeouts with 195.

"He hates McCatty more than he did before the meeting," Johnson quipped. "And me and Rizzo."

Two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Strasburg has pitched 1561Ú3 innings this season. In a similar situation last year, the Nats shut down right-hander Jordan Zimmermann after he pitched 1611Ú3 innings.

"I'm not sure any of us understand, but it's the right thing to do," Johnson said.

Strasburg has been mum on the subject and had little to say about it after his start Sunday. He was not made available for comment Monday.

"Stras is an intense competitor," Johnson said. "He wants to be here, wants to be contributing, wants to be helping. And I'm sure it's probably eating him up more than anybody involved in this whole thing because he wants to be here and helping his teammates. He's worked harder than anybody coming back from surgery, and this is what you dream about being a part of."

With the Nationals in first place, 6? games in front of Atlanta, they are in good position to make the postseason. But Strasburg will have to watch it from the dugout as the Nationals are doing what they believe will protect his future and that of the organization.

"I don't look at things as this is the only chance you're going to get to be in the postseason or to be in the World Series," Johnson said. "This team wasn't just pieced together for one year. It's built to last, and we're trying to make sure it lasts."

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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