Innings limits may not always be the most popular thing for managers and owners to impose, but they are definitely important in keeping young arms fresh and healthy.

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post that Stephen Strasburg will be on an innings limit this season. Strasburg will pitch every fifth day from the start of the regular season until he hits the 160-innings mark.

The Nationals will not tamper with his outings, allowing him to pitch as deep into games as he is able to. After 160 innings, though, the team will shut him down for the remainder of the season.

Strasburg is already one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, striking out 116 batters in just 17 starts. He’s walked just 19 batters and pitched to a 2.54 ERA.

His growth is nowhere near complete, however. Many feel he has even more room to grow. That’s why it’s a smart decision to keep him on regular rest while he works towards 160 innings.

Allowing him to pitch on a consistent basis will help him to learn how to adjust between starts and develop a routine on how to prepare on a day-to-day basis.

Nationals fans may not be in love with the decision, as they were hoping that this would finally be the season that the team makes a playoff push.

Strasburg will be essential in getting the team to that point, but he will almost certainly not be a part of the playoff roster if the Nationals can earn a spot.

Strasburg is not alone this season, as there are several other young hurlers who could be put on innings limits in 2012.

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