CINCINNATI -- After submitting a dominating performance on Saturday, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to throw his final Minor League game for Double-A Harrisburg on Thursday before making his Nationals season debut at home on Tuesday.
The Nationals have said they prefer Strasburg to pitch only in home games during his rehab starts, so with Triple-A Syracuse on the road Thursday, Double-A Harrisburg will be the location for the phenom's next outing. He will likely throw 75 to 80 pitches, or six innings.
Strasburg is expected to make his season debut with the Nationals at home against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. He has missed the entire regular season thus far while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
In Saturday's contest for Syracuse, Strasburg was dominant, throwing five perfect innings before allowing two singles to open the sixth against Rochester at Syracuse's Alliance Bank Stadium.
Strasburg, who was charged with one run in five-plus innings, received a no-decision. He also had seven strikeouts in the contest.
Zimmerman gets breather in finale
CINCINNATI -- Manager Davey Johnson decided to rest Ryan Zimmerman for Sunday's finale against the Reds, giving Alex Cora a start at third base.
The last time Cora received a start was July 27 against the Marlins. Since then, Cora has been the main pinch-hitter off the bench. The veteran hasn't received a lot of playing time recently because Johnson wants shortstop Ian Desmond and second baseman Danny Espinosa to get used to each other up the middle. Cora said he understands the situation.
"It's not frustrating. It is what it is," Cora said. "Those kids are healthy. Davey wants to play them every day. That's the way it is. They are the everyday players. Whenever they need a breather, I'll be ready."
As for Zimmerman, he said he is 100 percent healthy and was just given a day off. Zimmerman entered last week as one of the hottest hitters, but now finds himself in a 3-for-25 (.120) slump over his last six games.
"I'm good. I didn't have two very good games [in Cincinnati]. It's just part of it," Zimmerman said. "Physically, health wise, I'm fine. [Johnson] said he has been looking to get me a game off for a while. He really couldn't find a day [in the past]. Today, worked out well since we have tomorrow off."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.