Kelley shuts door for 'sore' Papelbon

Closer unavailable to pitch in Monday's victory over Cubs

June 14th, 2016

WASHINGTON -- Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable to pitch in Monday night's 4-1 win over the Cubs because he was "sore," manager Dusty Baker said.

"It's not in his arm, he's just sore," Baker said. "We'll make a further evaluation [Tuesday]."

Papelbon pitched on Sunday, allowing a go-ahead home run to the Phillies' Maikel Franco, but did not show a drop in velocity or any other obvious signs of injury. He has a 3.28 ERA and 1.338 WHIP on the season, while converting 16 of his 18 save chances. His strikeout figures (18.6 percent of batters, 6.93 K/9) are lower than they have been in any season during his 11-year Major League career.

Papelbon, who was not available after the game to comment, has not had a heavy workload in recent weeks, making only three appearances since the start of June.

With Papelbon unavailable Monday, Baker turned to Shawn Kelley to close the game. After entering with one out in the eighth, Kelley retired all five batters he faced, striking out four of them, for his first save of the season. It was the third time this season the righty has recorded five outs in a game.

"I felt good," Kelley said. "[Baker] asked me how I felt, I said 'good,' and he said 'you're going back out.'"