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Stephen Strasburg’s next start is Thursday … in the minors

Aug 29, 2011, 12:16 PM EDT

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Stephen Strasburg was fantastic Saturday in his fifth minor-league rehab start, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning, but the Nationals are resisting the urge to move up his return timetable.

MLB rosters expand Wednesday, so the Nationals could easily call up Strasburg and essentially have him replace Jordan Zimmermann in the rotation, but instead Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the former No. 1 pick will make another rehab start Thursday, likely at Double-A.

He’s slated to throw 75-80 pitches or six innings, which suggests another strong outing could convince the Nationals to activate him from the disabled list almost exactly 12 months after Tommy John elbow surgery. Not only has Strasburg’s mid-90s fastball already returned with 25 strikeouts in 14.1 innings in the minors, his control has been plenty good as well with just three walks.

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