With right-hander Jordan Zimmermann done for the season because of innings limitations, left-hander Tom Milone will make his Major League debut Saturday night against the Mets at Nationals Park.
But the bigger news is that Strasburg is expected to make his season debut with the Nationals on Tuesday night against the Dodgers. He will likely pitch no more than five innings.
"I think it'll be fun," Nationals outfielder Brian Bixler said. "He's a professional guy, he handles himself well no matter how big it is. I'm sure it will be a big deal. I haven't played with him yet and I'm looking forward to that one. He's a great and talented guy."
Strasburg will make his final rehab start on Thursday for Double-A Harrisburg, likely throwing 75 to 80 pitches, or six innings.
In Saturday's contest for Triple-A Syracuse, Strasburg was dominant, throwing five perfect innings before allowing two singles to open the sixth against Rochester at Syracuse's Alliance Bank Stadium.
If things go well Thursday, Strasburg will pitch his first big league game since August 2010. Strasburg, who is considered the ace of the staff, has missed most of this season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The first overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Strasburg made his Major League debut last year, going 5-3 with a 2.92 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings.
Milone, who was a 10th-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, is considered one of the best pitchers in Washington's farm system, going 12-6 with a 3.22 ERA this year. The most impressive thing about Milone's season is that has walked just 16 in 148 1/3 innings.
"This is the time of year that you look at young players," manager Davey Johnson said. "That's what you do this time of year when you are not in a pennant race. Unfortunately, we are not in one. So we are going to look at some young players that have bright futures. Milone is going to be the first one to get a shot."
We know a little bit about Strasburg. If everything is fine, he will stay in the rotation, too."
Besides Milone and Strasburg, the Nats are expected to call up right-hander Brad Peacock once the Minor League season is over next week. He will likely become a long man out of the bullpen. The club believes Peacock will be the No. 3 starter behind Strasburg and Zimmermann.
Peacock was a combined 15-3 with a 2.39 ERA with Harrisburg and Syracuse. He was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year.
"I'm going to go no more than five starters. We'll address that when the time comes," Johnson said.
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.Less