Strasburg to Make 2011 Debut on September 6th

Assuming there are no setbacks health-wise, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will return to the majors and make his first start with the Nationals on September 6th, at home versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to a source close to the Nationals.

Strasburg will pitch tomorrow night, the 17th, for the Hagerstown Suns. The Nationals want to keep him on a regular 5-day schedule, so he would then likely pitch for the Suns again on the 22nd. August 27th would be a start for the AAA Syracuse Chiefs, and then Strasburg’s final tuneup would be on September 1st, pitching for the Harrisburg Senators. Nationals brass have been careful to make sure he pitches in a “controlled” environment (read: home ballparks) during his minor league rehab starts.

The schedule sets up nicely for the Nationals, as they would get Strasburg’s first three major league starts of the season at home: September 6th vs the Dodgers, September 11th vs the Astros, and September 16th vs the Marlins. In fact, the Nationals have stopped letting season ticket holders redeem their Red Carpet Rewards (additional free tickets) for those specific three games, instead hoping to monetize Strasburg’s return and sell out the stadium. It should be an electric first night for Strasburg at Nats Park on September 6th.

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