Continued from page 1

Shortstop Ian Desmond called it a “pretty inspiring story,” which actually is typical on this ballclub.  Lannan’s tale would be touching on its own, regardless of who he was replacing in the rotation. He’s the franchise’s longsuffering pitcher who, finally, late in the season, gets to discover and enjoy what winning tastes like.

A fully dressed Strasburg returned to his after the game, as Lannan remained in uniform and addressed a crowd of reporters. Strasburg heard his name, lowered his head and turned and walked away.

“It’s definitely strange for a lot of guys,” Lannan said of the situation. “It hasn’t happened before.”

For all we know, it will never happen again. But it probably will be brought up 10 years from now. We know it will remain a storyline throughout the season, however long it lasts. Especially on the handful of days when Lannan starts.

He should be fine, a competitive player doing what he does. Strasburg, however, must deal with the strange feeling of being healthy yet not pitching. Jordan Zimmermann did it last year, but the Nats weren’t the best team in baseball and headed toward the playoffs last year.

“All that matters to us is that Strasburg knows we don’t look at him any differently,” LaRoche said. “This is not his decision; he is not letting any of us down. We’re not going to forget the last five months. He got us as far as he possibly could, and now it’s time to pass the baton to somebody else.”