Stephen Strasburg to be on an innings limit in 2012

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A couple of weeks ago Stephen Strasburg said that he just wanted to be normal. One of the guys. To take his starts out from under the microscope and have them just sort of blend into the flow of the season.  I presume he’ll get there one day, but for 2012, it seems, he’s still going to be something of a special case, as the Nationals have decided to put him on an innings limit.

Which is smart, by the way, even if it will lead to a lot of talk about whether the Nats are using him optimally and all of that. Talk which will be especially acute if, as many suspect, the Nats play a bigger role in the playoff chase next year.

But the thing is, they stand a great chance of making serious noise in the NL East beyond 2012 as well, and to that end it makes all kinds of sense to make sure that his reconstructed elbow builds to proper strength and endurance. So yeah, cut him off at 150-160 innings or so and then, in 2013, show the rest of the league the fully armed and operational Stephen Strasburg.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.