The issue of shutting down Stephen Strasburg isn’t a question of “if” but “when.” So far, everyone within the Nats organization who would know the answer has been tight lipped. Until now.

Davey Johnson was on PTI yesterday and spoke of a specific innings limit.

“One of my rules of managing is I try to do what’s best today, with an eye on tomorrow,” he explained. “And what’s best for Strasburg is looking ahead in his future, and if all the reports that I get is the best thing we can do is after 160 innings shut him down…

“That’s what we did with Jordan Zimmerman last year, although we were in third place, so it’s a little bit different this year. It’s the same deal: You do what’s best for the player, not only today but for the long haul.”

It’s not the first time the number 160 has been associated with Strasburg’s innings limit, but as far as I know, it is the first time someone from the team has said it. It’s also bad timing, as Davey’s comment comes a day after Mike Rizzo had this to say.

“Because people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about,” Rizzo said. “This decision is gonna come from the organization. The speculators on ESPN and MLB Network, they’re guessing. We have a plan for him. We know exactly what the number of innings is going to be. And when I feel that he’s had enough innings, we’re going to pull the plug on him.

“And everybody else who makes a statement on it is speculating. That’s why there’s such a discrepancy between what one person is saying on TV and another. Because they’re guessing, and they don’t know nearly the facts that we have.”

I’m pretty sure that Johnson isn’t “speculating” or “guessing” and that he said 160 because that’s the number they’re going with.

If you’re keeping up with Innings Watch 2012, Strasburg has pitched 121.1 innings so far this season. That gives him about seven more starts based on his current average.

But I’m just speculating and guessing.


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Gio Gonzalez weighs in

Strasburg says he hasn’t talked to management