According to Zimmerman, the organization is showing that the player's health comes first. The Nationals have had this plan in place for Strasburg since the Winter Meetings last December. Strasburg is expected to pitch between 160 and 180 innings.
"We are doing what's best for Stephen," Zimmerman said. "Stephen is probably the first person that doesn't want to do it. It's just the way it is. Just like we have done all year, when I've been hurt, [Michael] Morse has been hurt, Jayson [Werth] has been hurt or everyone else has been hurt, we'll get through it. We'll do what we have to do to win."
Strasburg, who started against the Braves on Tuesday, came into the game 14-5 with a 2.91 ERA, and was third in the National League in strikeouts with 173.
Even though Strasburg is an ace pitcher, Zimmerman pointed out that the Nationals have four other starters -- Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler -- who give opposing hitters problems. The pitching staff ranks first in the Major Leagues with a 3.24 ERA.
"We have four other guys. If they weren't on this team, they would be the top two guys in other rotations. We are confident with all those other guys," Zimmerman said. "Stephen is a special talent. I don't think anyone is going to deny that. Lucky for us, he is going to be a special talent with us for a long time. I would like to be able to look at that now and have that feeling 10 to 15 years from now. He is the prototypical ace. He is a big right-handed power pitcher. When you look at those guys [like Stephen], those guys are not fun to face."