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Posted at 06:06 PM ET, 09/23/2011

Stephen Strasburg will start tonight even with a rain delay

The rain is coming down, and the tarp remains on the infield at Nationals Park, but the center field gates have opened and the Nationals are optimistic the crummy weather will relent long enough for the Nationals to play the Braves. (Our friends at Capital Weather Gang are also optimistic.)

Stephen Strasburg, tonight’s scheduled starter, faced similarly rotten weather when he made his 2011 major league debut. On that night, Manager Davey Johnson was hesitant to let Strasburg pitch unless he was confident the weather would hold up. Tonight, Johnson will send Strasburg to the mound even if a pregame delay occurs.

“I’m turning the page,” Johnson said. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s healthy. It would be like a regular season game.”

Strasburg will be somewhat restricted, but Johnson has not settled on an exact pitch count.

“I’m just going to let him go until I think he needs to come out,” Johnson said. Having reached that point after three starts is a significant sign for the strength of Strasburg’s right elbow in and of itself.

“I’m sure Stephen is happy to feel that same way,” Johnson said. “There’s nothing he really needs to prove. He just needs to get some innings under his belt this year, get ready to go next year.”

By  |  06:06 PM ET, 09/23/2011

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