WASHINGTON -- Davey Johnson will be watching next week's All-Star Game with an eye on his two pitchers in the game, with special interest in their pitch counts.
Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez will be making their first and second All-Star appearances, respectively, and how much action they see Tuesday night in Kansas City could affect the Nationals' starting rotation once play resumes after the break. The Nats open a four-game series against the Marlins in Miami on July 13, and Johnson said Gonzalez is likely to start the series opener -- effectively moving Strasburg to the back end of the rotation to open the season's second half.
"[With Strasburg], I may see where that puts me if I put him at the back of the line, see where that brings him," Johnson said. "It's not a major thing. I wouldn't be doing it because he needs the extra rest, but more to see where he ends up."
Johnson added that he expects both pitchers to take the mound in the All-Star Game. Strasburg, who has posted a 9-3 record and 2.81 ERA, has been pitching under an innings limit of 160 that could potentially curtail his availability later in the season.
"I have no clue how many innings I'm going to throw this year," Strasburg said. "I've answered that question multiple times, and nobody's said anything to me. I feel great right now."
Strasburg not worrying about starting All-Star Game
WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg could be in line for the start in his first career All-Star Game, though the Nats' ace isn't concerned with receiving the honor.
Manager Tony La Russa will have final say over who starts for the National League team, and he has a stable of impressive pitchers to choose from. The Giants' Matt Cain (9-3, 2.53 ERA) and the Mets' R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.15 ERA) both have posted better numbers than Strasburg (9-3, 2.81), though the 23-year-old Washington righty figures to bring a high profile to the game -- not to mention his MLB-leading 122 strikeouts.
"No, it doesn't matter to me at all," Strasburg said of starting in Kansas City on July 10. "There's other guys that have been selected that have obviously done a lot more this year and put up crazy numbers who, in my opinion, are more fitting for it."
Strasburg added that while he, along with fellow starter Gio Gonzalez and shortstop Ian Desmond are excited to represent Washington as All-Stars, there are several other teammates who also played significant roles in giving the Nats' the NL's best record at the break.
"I think it's important to remember that because we're in first place, we're able to get three guys in the All-Star Game," Strasburg said. "We wouldn't be in first place without a lot of other guys in the clubhouse. So just from a pitching perspective, how many times has Adam LaRoche come up big this year? Obviously with [Bryce Harper] coming up, giving us a lot of new life and everything. Then Craig Stammen did an awesome job this year, [Tyler Clippard], [Ross Detwiler] moving all around in the rotation, and obviously with the other starters in there, too, it's been huge."
Wang to DL as Rodriguez rejoins 'pen
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals placed struggling right-hander Chien-Ming Wang on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 1, with a right hip strain on Tuesday, and reinstated right-hander Henry Rodriguez from the DL.
The concern about Wang has been growing ever since he was removed from the rotation and demoted to the bullpen at the end of June. He fared no better as a reliever, allowing six earned runs and eight hits over just three innings of work out of the 'pen.
Manager Davey Johnson reiterated his worries about Wang's inefficiency on Tuesday evening and said things came to a head when Wang threw a session before the game.
"Chien-Ming threw a 'pen and then he complained of something in his hip, and he was examined by our doctors and they said it was a hip strain," Johnson said.
Rodriguez, who is returning from a strained right index finger, threw one-third of an inning late on Tuesday night, recording the final out of the game with a strikeout in the ninth.
He is 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA and nine saves this year, through 25 games.
Storen to start rehab assignment Thursday
WASHINGTON -- Nearing the completion of his rehab from April elbow surgery, Drew Storen remains on track for a return shortly after the All-Star break.
Manager Davey Johnson said Storen will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Potomac on Thursday. Storen, who had surgery on April 11 to remove bone chips from his right elbow, will get four appearances in Potomac while pitching every other day. Infielder Chad Tracy (groin) will join him there, and Johnson said there is a "90 percent" chance outfielder Xavier Nady (wrist) will do the same.
Wednesday's game against the Giants will begin at 11:05 a.m. ET due to the city's Fourth of July festivities. The Nats have never started a game earlier than 12:05 p.m. local time.
Ryan Zimmerman entered Tuesday batting .378 with 14 hits and 13 RBIs in 37 at-bats since receiving a cortisone shot in his sore right shoulder on June 24.
Mike Fiammetta is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.