The decision on whether the National League East-leading Washington Nationals will shut down prized starter Stephen Strasburg apparently has been made. The when is all that remains.

General manager Mike Rizzo told ESPN Wednesday that he alone will decide when Strasburg's 2012 All-Star season will end, and that it's not necessarily at the 160-inning mark that has been talked about so often.

Strasburg underwent reconstructive elbow tendon surgery (known more commonly as Tommy John surgery) toward the end of his 2010 rookie season. He managed to return toward the end of last season, and pitched in only 44 combined innings that included minor league rehabilitation outings.

"There is no magic number," Rizzo said. "It will be the eye test. (Manager) Davey (Johnson) won't decide and ownership won't decide. It will be the general manager, and that's me."

Strasburg is enjoying a spectacular first full season in the majors, with a 10-4 record and 2.66 ERA while leading the NL with 135 strikeouts.

With the Nationals 4½ games ahead of second-place Atlanta and the addition of a playoff spot in each league, it appears the District of Columbia might be able to enjoy its first postseason appearance since 1933, when the original Washington Senators (now the Twins) reached the World Series.