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Thursday, July 12, 2012
Stephen Strasburg wants to pitch

ESPN.com news services

If the Washington Nationals make the World Series, don't tell Stephen Strasburg -- who is on a team-imposed innings limit -- that he won't be able to pitch.

"They're going to have to rip the ball out of my hands," Strasburg said on MLB Network Radio.

The All-Star was discussing the possibility that he won't be pitching later this season due to the 160-innings limit that the Nationals placed on their prized right-hander prior to the season. Strasburg had Tommy John surgery late in the 2011 season.

Stephen Strasburg
Stephen Strasburg gets ready to deliver a pitch during a game earlier this season.

Strasburg, 23, has come back strong from the major surgery, posting a 9-4 record with a 2.82 ERA in his first full season in the big leagues. The inning he pitched in Tuesday's All-Star Game was his 100th of the season.

The Nationals' intent has been to shut down Strasburg soon after he reaches his 160th inning, a plan the club has insisted it will follow despite being in first place in the National League East. At his current pace, Strasburg would hit his innings limit around the first week of September.

"If they (the Nationals) actually do that, I'll actually have more respect for them, because that's going to take some serious guts," an All-Star told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Strasburg has maintained that he feels good and that the club has not discussed his not pitching later this season.

"I have no clue how many innings I'm going to throw this year," he said. "I've answered that question multiple times, and nobody's said anything to me. I feel great right now."

Strasburg has been the anchor for a rotation that has been tops in the majors for much of the season, with fellow All-Star Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler all sporting ERAs under 4.00.

Information from ESPN The Magazine senior baseball writer Buster Olney and The Associated Press was used in this report.