The news comes two days after Strasburg had arguably the worst outing of his career against the Marlins, allowing seven runs -- five earned -- in five innings.
According to Johnson, Strasburg has two to three more starts. He already has pitched 150 1/3 innings. Strasburg is on an innings limit after having Tommy John surgery in late 2010. He could pitch between 160 to 180 innings.
If he misses the last three starts of the regular season, Strasburg's final start could be Sept. 12 against the Mets. If Strasburg misses the final two starts, his last start could be on Sept. 19 against the Dodgers, if the Nats stay with their five-man rotation without skipping anyone's turn despite two team off-days, on Sept. 13 and 17. Strasburg does not know when his last game will be. He will not pitch in the postseason.
Johnson told Strasburg on the plane on Wednesday night he "has a few more [starts] to go." Johnson also said there is a firm plan in place to shut Strasburg down.
For the season, Strasburg is 15-6 with a 3.05 ERA and a National League-leading 186 strikeouts. Asked what improvements he would like to see from Strasburg for next year, Johnson said, "He is perfect as far as I'm concerned -- his work habits, his [bullpen sessions]. It's just a learning curve. ... Stuff comes from experience."