Debate rages on about Strasburg shutdown

WASHINGTON — Chipper Jones knows that a World Series title is something that comes along, at least in his case, just once in a very long career. He got his with the Atlanta Braves at age 23.

A year younger than Washington's Stephen Strasburg is now.

"If I was sitting over in that clubhouse," Jones said this week, "I would hate to squander this opportunity."

Jones was weighing in on the great inside-the-beltway debate — the Nationals' impending shutdown of Strasburg.

Strasburg is 15-5 with a 2.85 ERA and leads the National League with 183 strikeouts. He has won four straight starts and looked unhittable at times in his last outing, a 10-strikeout, rain-interrupted performance against the Braves on Tuesday.

But this is his first full season since undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery — the famous Tommy John procedure — and the Nationals have made it clear since the start of spring training that they will limit his load, just as they did last year when TJ-comeback teammate Jordan Zimmermann was shut down after passing 160 innings on Aug. 28.

Everybody has an opinion. And manager Davey Johnson has heard them all.

"It's really easy for the bloggers and the tweeters and all those people to say 'Why don't you do this?' or 'We can do that. Get him out of the bullpen' and blah, blah, blah, blah," Johnson said. "I've heard it all, and I said, it's a good thing you guys aren't managing, and I'm the one that's managing. You do what's best for the player. Always. No. 1."

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