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Strasburg likely gets 4-5 more starts

Strasburg likely gets 4-5 more starts

Though the Nationals have no set date for Stephen Strasburg's shutdown, manager Davey Johnson did offer up the most-concrete clue yet today, suggesting the club will need another pitcher to make two or three starts in Strasburg's place come late-September.

"I talked a little bit about it with general manager Mike Rizzo," Johnson said prior to the Nationals' series finale against the Braves. "We kind of worked it out, and I think it came out with off-days we would need another starter for, I think, two starts. I think it was two starts, maybe three. I thought it was two."

What exactly does that mean? It seems to suggest Strasburg will make either four or five more starts this season. He's slated to pitch Tuesday in Miami, then lines up to start Sept. 2 against the Cardinals, Sept. 7 against the Marlins and Sept. 12 in New York.

It would then be a question of whether the Nationals will let the right-hander make one final start at home, likely Sept. 19 against the Dodgers.

If he averages six innings per start, Strasburg would reach 175 after that outing against Los Angeles. Club officials have privately said he won't be allowed to surpass 180 innings this season.

"I don't think the innings number is cut in stone," Johnson said. "The science is not that exact. There's a little leeway there."

Whenever the Nationals decide the time is right to shut down Strasburg, they will give the 24-year-old advance notice. Johnson said he'll likely inform the pitcher in the days leading up to his final start.

The Nationals plan to use left-hander John Lannan (who has spent the majority of the season at Class AAA Syracuse) as Strasburg's replacement for the remainder of the regular season. His starts would likely fall on Sept. 24 against the Brewers and Sept. 29 in St. Louis.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.