The lingering impression is that Mike Rizzo, the general manager of the Washington Nationals, announced the hard number of 160 as the innings limit for righthanded starter Stephen Strasburg in 2012 spring training.

That wasn't really the deal. Rizzo said on Feb. 20: "We're going to run him out there until his innings are gone and then stop him from pitching."

Strasburg had undergone Tommy John surgery on Sept. 3, 2010. He had pitched 44 innings in the minors and with the Nats in 2011.

One-60 became the educated guess -- or the inside information -- on how far the Nats would push him in 2012.

When Strasburg wavered a bit, the Nats pulled the plug on him in early September at 159 1/3 innings -- making the original guesses look accurate. There was much howling over Strasburg's absence as the Nats headed to the playoffs. They blew a 6-0 lead and lost a decisive fifth game to St. Louis in a division series.

The Twins have a righthanded starter of promise who is returning from Tommy John surgery in Kyle Gibson. GM Terry Ryan's message is similar to Rizzo's from a year ago:

Kyle Gibson will be shut down at a certain point that for now remains vague.

This isn't a national story for two reasons: One, Gibson hasn't pitched in the big leagues, and Strasburg was already a phenom. And two, the Twins enter 2013 off the radar as contenders and of little intrigue to anyone outside the Upper Midwest.

Yet Gibson is very important to the boisterous and unhappy followers who make up Twins Region. They want starting pitchers who can provide hope for a return to competence.