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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 09/05/2011

The Nationals’ plan for Stephen Strasburg (even if it rains)


(Jonathan Newton - WASHINGTON POST)
After rehabbing from Tommy John surgery for an entire year, Stephen Strasburg may have to wait an extra day to make his return to the major leagues.

Tuesday’s forecast threatens rain all day long, so the game may be postponed. Even if there is a delay, it could move Strasburg’s start back. The Nationals will take no chances with Strasburg’s reconstructed elbow.

“If he warms up and it rains, we’ll probably have to do it another day,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “If there’s a delay, it’s something you don’t want, whether it’s Strasburg or any other starter to go through any kind of rain delay. Hopefully, we’ll have no rain. He’ll get his work in, and we’ll move on. I don’t like those negative kind of questions. Can you give me a better forecast or something?”

If Strasburg does make his start, Wilson Ramos – “my number 1 catcher,” Johnson said – will be behind the plate. Ivan Rodriguez, who caught Strasburg in his debut last year and who also caught his final minor league rehab start in Class AA Harrisburg, would like to catch. But Johnson wants to go with his typical lineup.

“I’m sure I’ll have two or three other guys who’d like to catch him,” Johnson said. ”I’m sure Pudge will politic for it.”

If the game is played, the Nationals will play in front of a packed ballpark Tuesday night, likely drawing only their only sellout of the season in a game not played against the Phillies. “There’s going to be a lot more buzz, a lot more excitement,” Johnson said.

“It’s exciting,” Nationals closer Drew Storen said. “Hopefully, he’ll help us end our season on a positive note. That’s our biggest goal. He’s obviously a big-time player and all that stuff. But he’s kind of just another guy on the team to us. To have him back in the starting rotation and to see all his hard work paid off, I think that will be the biggest thing for us.”

By  |  12:30 PM ET, 09/05/2011

 
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