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Stras pulling for Nats, has 'accepted' shutdown

Stras pulling for Nats, has 'accepted' shutdown

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Stras pulling for Nats, has 'accepted' shutdown
WASHINGTON -- A month after being shut down for the season, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg said he has accepted not pitching in the postseason.

On Sept. 8, manager Davey Johnson decided it was more of a mental issue than a physical one as to why Strasburg's season came to an end, after the Nationals had planned to have him make one more start. Strasburg acknowledged to Johnson a week before that he had a tough time sleeping because of the impending shutdown.

Wild Card vs. Nationals

But Strasburg still had hoped that he would pitch in the postseason. A week after being shut down, Strasburg asked the Nationals' front office to change its mind, but the team was firm on its decision.

"It was part of the protocol, I guess. I have accepted it. I'm just trying to be here for the team," Strasburg said. "I'm still a little bit upset, but I'm past that. It's done with. There is nothing I can do. I could sit here, be upset and not be a good teammate, but I don't want to be that type of guy. I'm going to pull for those guys and make sure that everybody knows that I'm with them even though I'm not out there playing."

Strasburg, who is traveling with the team, is enjoying watching the team play the Cardinals in the National League Division series, with Game 3 taking place Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET on MLB Network. He is also making sure that he stays in shape. He lifts weights and does a lot of running.

"I think it is great for the town, being able to witness just the atmosphere of the playoffs," Strasburg said. "And even though I'm not out there, I have a good preparation for opportunities [in] the future.

"I'm doing all the same stuff. I'm kind of in offseason workouts. Hopefully, when the season ends in a couple weeks, I'm going to take a little time off and then get back at it. So I'm trying to build strength as far as lifting and running are concerned."

Strasburg started 28 games and had a 15-6 record with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts. He pitched 159 1/3 innings, and knew before the season started he would be limited because of Tommy John surgery that he had in September of the 2010 season.

Don't think Strasburg is satisfied with what he has accomplished during his first full season in the big leagues. He wants to improve his fastball command and do a better job of holding runners on first base. He was satisfied with how his curveball got better as the season went on.

"I know my fastball command was a little bit hit or miss, but it's just the nature of the beast," Strasburg said. "Fastball command is going to be a lot better next year, especially just this last month, being able to take a step back and watch from the dugout and see how hitters face certain pitchers. I'm going to develop a little bit more of a game plan.

"I have to do a better job holding runners and making sure that I'm the same, when I'm switching the pitches with my hand -- I am not moving my glove a little bit or my hand. I think if I do that a lot better, kind of disguise it a little, [I can hold runners better]."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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