WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Stephen Strasburg will likely make only one or two more starts following his outing Sunday against the Cardinals.
He will not be available to help push the Nationals to their first division series since relocating to the nation's capital. He will not pitch against the Cardinals in a potentially key series scheduled later this month. He will not be on a postseason roster.
Rather, the Nationals are standing firm in their decision to limit Strasburg's workload in what is his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. The Cardinals' Adam Wainwright is making the same return from the same surgery. His workload, however, will not be limited in the same way.
"I don't know what the information is that they're getting from their medical people," manager Mike Matheny said. "That's really what we go on. I don't pretend to be an expert in that field. We've been given the 'all progress forward' and 'full steam ahead' with Adam until we see anything out of the normal."
After missing the 2011 season while he recovered from elbow surgery, Wainwright has already thrown 168 2/3 innings through 27 starts. If the Cardinals don't make any tweaks with their rotation, Wainwright would have six more starts this season. That would almost certainly push him over the 200-innings mark.
That doesn't account for potential innings Wainwright could pitch in the postseason.
Strasburg, who started Sunday, entered the day having thrown 150 1/3 innings in 26 starts. The Nationals are unlikely to allow him to pitch past an innings mark of 180. He threw 44 1/3 innings last year after wrapping up his recovery from surgery.
One of the biggest factors in the differing approaches, though, is experience. Strasburg is in unchartered territory, having never pitched a full season as a professional. Wainwright, on the other hand, threw more than 200 innings in three of the four seasons before undergoing arm surgery. That has allowed the Cardinals to take the more liberal stance.
"If we had the medical people tell us something different, we would be a lot more alert, but right now everything measures out fine," Matheny said. "Strasburg is at a different point in his career, too. He's a younger guy. There's a lot of different factors that go into it on both sides.
"I understand the stance they're taking, and I know that Adam is behind us with where we stand with him right now."