WASHINGTON -- Washington Nationals presumptive No. 1 starter Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his start with the Atlanta Braves tonight, after he had trouble getting loose in the bullpen for his start.

Nats GM Mike Rizzo said Strasburg was shut down as a "precautionary move" when the big right-hander had trouble loosening up for his start.  Rizzo said he was the one who "pulled the plug" on Strasburg pitching after being alerted to the situation from trainer Lee Kuntz.

"We're going to err on the side of caution," Rizzo told reporters gathered in the media elevator lobby. "I make the decisions and take the heat for it."

Strasburg started to warm up in the bullpen, but stopped and talked with pitching coach Steve McCatty, and catcher Ivan Rodriguez was seen consoling the rookie pitcher.  After talking with Kuntz -- and then Rizzo -- Strasburg was relieved of his start and made his way back to the clubhouse via the tunnel under the grandstands in right field.

Strasburg was not available to the media.

Rizzo said the team will be very cautious with evaluation and treatment of Strasburg, and said he would be listed as day-to-day.   He will be further evaluated by the team's medical staff, including most likely an MRI and X-Rays. 

Rizzo indicated that this problem just came up this evening when Strasburg went out ot the pen, and that he did not have any problems the last few days with long-toss or his previous bullpen session.


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