WASHINGTON -- While nothing has been discussed between him and the front office, Nationals manager Davey Johnson is already thinking about when right-hander Stephen Strasburg will pitch his first big league game of the season.
Strasburg, who allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings for Class A Hagerstown on Wednesday, most likely will replace right-hander Jordan Zimmermann in the rotation, but the Nationals are being cautious when it comes to Strasburg, who is coming off Tommy John surgery. No date has been set for Strasburg's season debut.
Zimmermann has 15 more innings until he reaches his limit for the season. Johnson is still not sure how he will handle Zimmermann's final innings.
Johnson said he needs to talk to general manager Mike Rizzo and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz before any decision is made regarding Strasburg's season debut.
For example, if Zimmermann pitches seven innings against the Reds on Thursday and five more in his next start, it would mean he would have three more innings left. Johnson is still wondering if it's worth Zimmermann making another start if that occurs. Another scenario is for Zimmermann to pitch five innings per start.
"I was kind of interested in the math -- looking at Jordan Zimmermann's innings to date," Johnson said. "It looked like to me he would have three more starts."