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Nats' bullpen lacking stability without Glover

On DL, closer yet to throw; Kelley, Solis rehabbing as club seeks reinforcements
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Nationals closer Koda Glover hasn't started throwing since he was placed on the 10-day disabled list with lower back stiffness on June 11. Without him, Washington has used multiple pitchers to fill in.

Relievers had begun to grow comfortable in defined roles when manager Dusty Baker named Glover the closer May 25, but they are struggling without him. The group entered Tuesday with the second-worst ERA in the Major Leagues.

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WASHINGTON -- Nationals closer Koda Glover hasn't started throwing since he was placed on the 10-day disabled list with lower back stiffness on June 11. Without him, Washington has used multiple pitchers to fill in.

Relievers had begun to grow comfortable in defined roles when manager Dusty Baker named Glover the closer May 25, but they are struggling without him. The group entered Tuesday with the second-worst ERA in the Major Leagues.

View Full Game Coverage

The Nationals signed 35-year-old Francisco Rodriguez to a Minor League deal, according to a source, hoping the former All-Star closer can resurrect his career and become a steady reliever. Baker has said having a "bona fide closer" will help steady the bullpen as a unit.

Source: Nats, K-Rod agree on Minors deal

Shawn Kelley, meanwhile, started throwing Monday after being placed on the DL with a right trapezius strain June 18. The right-hander was one of the pitchers Baker has used in the closer role, but he holds a 7.00 ERA and has allowed nine home runs, the most among Nationals relievers.

Video: WSH@OAK: Kelley induces out to end the A's rally

Sammy Solis also threw Monday night as part of his rehab assignment, and Baker said he's "very close" to returning but will continue rehabbing from left elbow inflammation that landed him on the DL on April 19.

Solis had an 8.31 ERA in six appearances to start the season, but Baker is hopeful he'll return to the form he displayed last season, when he held a 2.41 ERA. The Nationals could also use another lefty reliever, as Enny Romero has been the only consistent option.

Worth noting

• Baker said Chris Heisey is feeling better after he ruptured his right biceps May 24, and he might start a rehab assignment soon. Heisey said he was cleared to hit the day after his setback, but the injury was more serious than he assumed. Heisey, however, was hitting .128 as a pinch-hitter this season, and the Nationals have received production off the bench from Adam Lind, Stephen Drew and Ryan Raburn.

Jayson Werth stretched with the team during batting practice Tuesday for the first time since he endured a left foot contusion June 3. Baker hopes the outfielder will return after the All-Star break.

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.

Washington Nationals