Stephen Strasburg is down to his final stretch of the season, and he's been made aware of the Nationals' plan for him.
Manager Davey Johnson said Thursday the young ace will make "probably two or three" more starts before the club shuts him down for 2012 and said he has conveyed that information directly to Strasburg.
Johnson said he told Strasburg on the team's charter flight home from Miami late Wednesday of the plan, not wanting the right-hander to worry his next outing could be his last.
"I said something to him on the plane," Johnson relayed. "You know, 'You've got a few more to go.'"
This revelation from Johnson doesn't differ much with one he offered last week when he said the Nationals would need a replacement for Strasburg in their rotation for two or three starts at the end of September. This would seem to indicate that number will be three, with left-hander John Lannan expected to fill that role.
Strasburg has thrown 150 13 innings so far in a season in which his club has planned all along to cap him between 160-180. He's scheduled to start Sunday at home against the Cardinals, then Sept. 7 against the Marlins (also at Nationals Park).
Strasburg would then probably end his season Sept. 12 against the Mets in New York.
Though there's still some wiggle room, and though general manager Mike Rizzo has said he'll be the one making the final call on Strasburg's shutdown date, Johnson said there's already a "pretty firm plan" in place.