WASHINGTON -- The Nationals already have one closer on the disabled list, and they received an injury scare from another during the ninth inning of Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Braves, when Kelvin Herrera exited the game with tightness in his right shoulder.
Herrera, who gave up the game-winning two-run triple to Ender Inciarte, will undergo an MRI on Wednesday morning.
"[Herrera] didn't quite have the life that he had the last outing," catcher Matt Wieters said. "So, he called me up there and just said he wasn't feeling right. So, no reason to push it, and make sure we get it right before we get him back out there."
Pitching in the ninth inning of a tied game, Herrera yielded a pair of singles to Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis to put himself into a jam to start the inning. Kurt Suzuki connected with a line drive, but third baseman Anthony Rendon snagged it for the first out. Then, Inciarte snuck his triple down the right-field line.
Manager Dave Martinez saw Herrera shake his right arm after the triple, prompting him to emerge from the dugout with head athletic trainer Paul Lessard. After a brief conversation, Herrera came out of the game.
"I couldn't finish my pitches," Herrera said through an interpreter, and he added it's the first time he has ever experienced this issue. "I felt like I was aiming them instead of throwing them."
Since joining the Nationals, Herrera has had his struggles. In 19 games, he has posted a 4.76 ERA -- way up from the 1.05 ERA he posted in Kansas City to start the season -- and has given up 23 hits and walked eight in 17 innings. But Martinez said this is the first time he has complained of shoulder soreness.
The Nats cannot afford to lose Herrera for an extended period of time. Sean Doolittle is still recovering from the stress reaction in his left foot and has not been cleared to throw off a mound. The club just traded two valuable relievers in Shawn Kelley and Brandon Kintzler. Although the Nats signed Greg Holland on Tuesday, he has been far from reliable this season.
So, the Nats will await the results of Herrera's MRI, and hope they will not be without yet another arm in the bullpen.
"We'll see," Herrera said. "We've got to see the results tomorrow."