Everyone’s got a suggestion. Limit him to a handful of innings each start? Convert him into a reliever? Johnson has heard it all.
“The best one I got was trip him when he’s in the outfield so he strains a hamstring or something and he’s got to be down for a month,” he said with a chuckle. “That was a good one; I liked that one.”
Johnson said he gets a lot of text messages and letters, but no tweets because he’s not on “Tweeter.” He admitted, “I wish we could get by this Stras thing,” but knows that won’t happen.
Instead, there’s a ticking clock on the 2009 No. 1 overall pick who had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2010. He has thrown 145 1/3 innings so far and has a limit that has not been made public by the organization
Johnson has spoken with general manager Mike Rizzo and has a rough idea when the shutdown will come.
“It depends on how many innings I let him pitch leading up to it. He’s been averaging right around six innings. You guys should be able to do the math on that,” Johnson said. “I don’t think the innings number is cut in stone. The science is not that exact. There’s a little leeway there. But that’s down the road.”
Strasburg is expected to be able to make at least four more starts, going until Sept. 12 at the New York Mets, or perhaps five, which would take him to Sept. 19 vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers.
If Strasburg pitches Sept. 19, he would miss two regular-season starts, which could come Sept. 24 vs. the Milwaukee Brewers and Sept. 29 a the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Everybody in the world will know on this one,” Johnson said.