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Reliever Madson placed on DL with pec strain

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- It seems that with each passing day, the injury list keeps growing for the Nationals. After Sunday's 7-2 loss to the Dodgers, they had to place right-hander Ryan Madson on the disabled list with a strained pectoral muscle.

Madson has not pitched since last Sunday after a series of rainouts washed away several Nats games, so it is unclear when or how he developed the injury. The move is retroactive to May 17, and it comes after Madson was unavailable all weekend. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday.

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WASHINGTON -- It seems that with each passing day, the injury list keeps growing for the Nationals. After Sunday's 7-2 loss to the Dodgers, they had to place right-hander Ryan Madson on the disabled list with a strained pectoral muscle.

Madson has not pitched since last Sunday after a series of rainouts washed away several Nats games, so it is unclear when or how he developed the injury. The move is retroactive to May 17, and it comes after Madson was unavailable all weekend. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday.

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"We've been keeping an eye on it," manager Dave Martinez said. "He said he felt a little better. But just to be safe, we want him healthy."

Since the Nationals acquired Madson in a trade last July, he has become one of their most reliable relievers, usually pitching the eighth inning and matching up with both left- and right-handers. In 21 appearances this season, he posted a 4.19 ERA and 1.397 WHIP, but those numbers are inflated a bit due to a few bad outings. He has struck out 20 in 19 1/3 innings and has a 2.16 FIP.

Video: WSH@ARI: Madson strikes out 3 in 1/3 hitless innings

Madson has been one of the relievers Martinez has consistently handed the ball to with confidence in a close game, along with closer Sean Doolittle, right-hander Brandon Kintzler and left-hander Sammy Solis. The Nationals have struggled to find other consistent reliable options outside of those four, so they have pushed their starting pitchers to higher pitch counts.

Without Madson, that issue could only further be exacerbated.

Consider Sunday's loss, during which Madson was unavailable. Stephen Strasburg threw 115 pitches in 6 2/3 innings before Solis finished off the seventh. Trailing by a run in the eighth, Martinez turned to Wander Suero, who surrendered a two-run homer to make it a three-run game. And Shawn Kelley gave up a pair of runs in the ninth to put the game all but out of reach.

"It's realty difficult," Martinez said. "You put the guys in that you think are going to get the job done. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Ryan Madson