Tuesday afternoon, precisely one month and one day after the men who run the Washington Nationals prohibited him from pitching for the team with the best record in baseball, Stephen Strasburg occupied an increasingly familiar spot on the field. The Nationals' ace stood in the outfield, playing catch and shagging flies, part of the team but not the roster.

As the Nationals play the postseason without him, Strasburg has softened his stance on the Nationals' decision to shut him down. He still does not like it, which is why, in the week after his final start, he lobbied the Nationals to let him pitch. They did not, of course, but Strasburg's anger has since mellowed.

First, consider what he said Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the Nationals concluded an optional team workout at Nationals Park: "I've accepted it, and I'm just trying to be here for the team."

Now, remember what Strasburg said on Sept. 8, hours after Manager Davey Johnson sidled next to him in the trainer's room and told him his season was over: "I don't know if I'm ever going to accept it, to be honest."

How, on the eve of Washington's first major league playoff game 79 years, did Strasburg arrive at that point? The simple answer is the one month and one day between then and now.

"Time, basically," Strasburg said. "I'm still pretty upset. I'm kind of past that. It's done with. There's nothing you can do. I could sit here and be upset and not be a good teammate, but I don't want to be that type of guy. I want to pull for these guys and make sure that everybody knows that I'm with them, even though I'm not out there playing."