Strasburg out with illness, but to start Thursday

Strasburg out with illness, but to start Thursday

WASHINGTON -- When Nationals manager Dusty Baker first heard Stephen Strasburg coughing on Monday, he feared the righty might not be available to make his scheduled start Wednesday night against the Braves. So the club put the plans in motion then to ensure that Tanner Roark would be ready to start in Strasburg's place.

By the time Washington officially scratched Strasburg on Wednesday afternoon with an illness, Roark was ready to answer the call. He tossed seven shutout innings, holding the Braves to just four hits while striking out four in a 3-0 victory at Nationals Park.

Roark, who was originally scheduled to pitch Thursday, had been slated to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, but the club had him skip it, fearing that Strasburg would not be able to pitch. Roark started Wednesday without issue, and because of the way the schedule played out, he actually made that start on five days' rest.

"We had the rainout and then that off-day, so I still felt strong and ready to go," Roark said. "I got a good night's sleep and was ready to go."

Strasburg first started to feel sick earlier in the week, and although his condition had improved Wednesday, the Nationals decided to be cautious. He did play catch in the outfield prior to the game, and he will be able to start Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Braves.

Jamal Collier is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.