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Stephen Strasburg will now make his final spring training start Saturday.
The rationale: Strasburg was going to get an extra day of rest at some point before the April 5 opener at Wrigley Field. And since he's scheduled to throw only 60-to-70 pitches in his final spring tune-up, manager Davey Johnson prefers his ace get the rest now.
"Give him an extra day to recover [from Sunday's start], and then have a short day Saturday and then have his regular rest for the opener," Johnson explained. "And there's also the possibility we could have [bad] weather [in Chicago]. So rather than have it too long, that's the reason behind that. That's my decision."
The reshuffling of Strasburg's schedule also affects a few other members of the Nationals pitching staff. Ross Detwiler, slated to open the season as a long reliever, will get a chance to stretch himself out and start tomorrow night against the Marlins.
No. 5 starter John Lannan, meanwhile, will "piggyback" Strasburg's start on Saturday, throwing 60-to-70 pitches in relief. Lannan then may make a brief relief appearance Tuesday against the Red Sox at Nationals Park, setting himself up to make his regular-season debut April 10 against the Mets.
"I like where you're at; we could give you an inning or so in that game against the Red Sox in D.C.," Johnson told Lannan in discussing the plan. "So that will be a tune-up for his start."