Strasburg placed on disabled list

WASHINGTON -- Rookie right-hander Stephen Strasburg went on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with inflammation in his throwing shoulder, the latest indication of how careful the Washington Nationals are being with their prized pitcher.

"They're taking every precaution with me, obviously," Strasburg said.

It's the first trip to the DL for Strasburg, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft and signed a record $15.1 million contract.

"If he's 90 percent healthy, we shut him down," Washington manager Jim Riggleman said. "He's got to be 100 percent."

Riggleman said the Nationals expect Strasburg to pitch again for them this season. It's possible he could begin his road back by playing catch Saturday.

The move to the DL is retroactive to July 22, a day after Strasburg made his last appearance. He was scratched minutes before he was to make his 10th major league start Tuesday, because his right shoulder felt stiff while he was warming up in the bullpen.

An MRI exam taken Tuesday showed Strasburg's shoulder is "totally clean," general manager Mike Rizzo said.

"It's feeling great already. Keep making big strides. So just going to keep getting better, keep getting stronger, and when the time comes, I'm going to be ready to go," Strasburg said.

He's been shut down since Tuesday, resting his shoulder and getting treatment.

Strasburg is 5-2 with a 2.32 ERA, 75 strikeouts and 15 walks in 54 1/3 innings since making his debut for the Nationals on June 8, when he struck out 14 in a victory over Pittsburgh.

The Nationals have said they would end Strasburg's season when he reaches 160 innings between the majors and minors, even if that cap were to come in late August or early September. So far in 2010, his count is at 109 2/3, including the minors, which essentially matches his workload in his final college season at San Diego State: 109 innings.

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who was asked about Strasburg's shoulder issue, said in an interview Thursday on Sirius Radio that the force Strasburg puts into his throwing motion should raise a red flag.

"The real concern is what I call an upside-down arm action," Cooper told Sirius in the interview, the quotes from which were published by the New York Post on its website. Cooper compared Strasburg's issues to the ones that disrupted the careers of former Chicago Cubs pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.

"I am not wishing [Strasburg] bad, but for him to be having problems right now when they are really, really watching him, what are they going to see when they are trying to get 220 innings from him?" Cooper said in the interview. "He does something with his arm action that is difficult, in my mind, to pitch a whole lot of innings on."

Added Cooper, "It's very difficult to change arm action, so no, I don't think you can do that."

Meanwhile, Riggleman will need to find someone to take Strasburg's turn in the rotation Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Strasburg said he will head out on the road with the Nationals when they travel to play the Diamondbacks and Dodgers from Aug. 2 to 8.

"We're really looking at only about eight or nine more days until he'll be able to pitch again," Riggleman said. "We'll probably go another few days after that."

By sending Strasburg to the DL, the Nationals made room on the roster to activate left-hander Scott Olsen, out since May with a shoulder injury. Olsen started Washington's game against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.