Strasburg's ceiling, second-half storylines

Updated: July 11, 2012, 2:26 PM ET
By Buster Olney

The other day in the visitors dugout in Boston, Alex Rodriguez talked about how much he looked forward to a breather for a few days, to spend time with his daughters at a lake house. Somewhere out on an Oregon river, Billy Beane has been fly fishing, and today Adam Dunn, fresh off his All-Star experience, will catch a day with his kids.

But players will begin to get back to business Thursday, with some teams slated for workouts leading up to Friday's full slate of games.

These will be the biggest stories of the second half:

1. Stephen Strasburg and his innings ceiling
An All-Star player grinned and shook his head on the field the other day, chatting about the Nationals' plans to shut down Strasburg after he reaches his predetermined limit of innings -- right in the most critical stage in the organization's history.

"If they [the Nationals] actually do that, I'll actually have more respect for them, because that's going to take some serious guts," said the All-Star, chuckling at what could be the most discussed and dissected decision in the second half of the season.