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Nationals move closer to shutting down Strasburg

Nats ace Stephen Strasburg’s season is likely almost over. (Associated Press)
Nats ace Stephen Strasburg’s season is likely almost over. (Associated Press)

Stephen Strasburg has “probably” two or three starts remaining before he’s done for the season, and he can no longer claim he wasn’t told it was coming.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he spoke to Strasburg about the right-hander’s innings limit Wednesday on a flight home from Miami.

Johnson said he is down to “probably two or three” starts in his first full season since he had reconstructive elbow surgery.

“And, no, I’m not going to drag it out and give him seven days between starts, either,” Johnson said.

The Nationals have not revealed the exact innings target for Strasburg, but the team shut down Jordan Zimmermann at 161 1/3 innings under similar circumstances last year. Strasburg has thrown 150 1/3, and leads the N.L. with 186 strikeouts.

Strasburg (15-6, 3.05 ERA) has led Washington to a remarkable turnaround season, with the team in its first pennant race since the franchise moved there. The decision to shut him down, which was determined at the start of the season, has generated considerable debate as to whether it could cost the city a chance to win its first World Series title since 1924.

Strasburg has feigned ignorance of the situation, repeatedly claiming that no one in the Nationals’ organization has talked to him about innings constraints. There’s no doubt now he’s been told.

Halman acquitted

A Dutch court acquitted the brother of Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman on Thursday of stabbing the baseball star to death last year, saying he was temporarily insane at the time.

Rotterdam District said Jason Halman “was in a state of psychosis at the time of the stabbing” and could therefore not be held accountable for his actions.

Greg Halman hit .230 in 35 games for the Mariners in 2011 and made starts at all three outfield positions before being optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.

The 24-year-old Halman died after being stabbed in the neck on Nov. 21 at an apartment in Rotterdam, reportedly following an argument over loud music.

Clearing the bases

Injured New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has been out for more than a month with a broken left hand, is set to play in the minor leagues tonight for Class A Tampa in the Florida State League. … The Minnesota Twins placed center fielder Denard Span on the 15-day disabled list with an injured collarbone. He’s hitting .286 with three homers and 35 RBIs.

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