WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Dave Martinez knew he needed to restructure his rotation with Stephen Strasburg going on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday with right shoulder inflammation, but the Nats also placed reliever Brandon Kintzler on the DL with a right forearm flexor strain, meaning Martinez will need a
WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Dave Martinez knew he needed to restructure his rotation with Stephen Strasburg going on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday with right shoulder inflammation, but the Nats also placed reliever Brandon Kintzler on the DL with a right forearm flexor strain, meaning Martinez will need a new late-game pitching option.
On Sunday, the Nationals recalled right-handed pitchers Trevor Gott and Wander Suero from Triple-A Syracuse.
Strasburg left his start Friday after just two innings with shoulder pain before an MRI confirmed his inflammation. The right-hander owns a 3.46 ERA with 95 strikeouts and 19 walks in 80 2/3 innings.
Washington will still need to recall one or two starters to fill Strasburg's spot in the rotation, as well as Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a right hamstring strain. Washington could use a four-man rotation through June 19 because of off-days.
Erick Fedde, the Nationals' top pitching prospect, could replace Strasburg. Fedde last started for the Nationals on May 23, when he allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Padres.
Kintzler downplayed his injury Sunday, saying he should only need rest to improve his forearm. The right-hander said he's been dealing with forearm tightness all season, but that the injury recently affected his control. Kintzler hit a batter with a pitch in each of his past three outings.
Kintzler exited in the eighth inning of the Nationals' win over the Giants on Saturday. The 33-year-old has notched a 4.45 ERA with 21 strikeouts and 12 walks in 28 1/3 innings this year.
"I've been searching for my mechanics for three weeks, trying to find out what's wrong with me," Kintzler said. "In reality, it ended up being something with my elbow, and I can't get the last extension that I need for a good sinker."
Without Kintzler, who mostly pitched in the seventh inning, Martinez said he's comfortable using Justin Miller in crucial situations. The right-hander hasn't given up a run over nine innings since joining the Nationals in May. Martinez also said the Nationals will use different matchups late in games, taking advantage of the four left-handers in the bullpen.
This is Gott's third stint with the Nationals in 2018. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning in Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Giants, and his ERA sits at 4.96 over 18 appearances. Suero has a 4.15 ERA over 12 relief appearances for the Nats this season.
Murphy close to returning
Daniel Murphy, who hasn't played this season due to right knee surgery in October, returned to the Nationals clubhouse Sunday afternoon, and he will travel with the team next week against the Yankees and Blue Jays.
Martinez wanted Murphy back with the team to judge how he was playing. Murphy fielded ground balls and took part in batting practice before the game.
The Nationals could activate Murphy next week and use him as a designated hitter against American League teams to ease him back into game action. While Murphy's knee is healthy, some spectators said Murphy was running awkwardly during rehab.
"I thought he made a big improvement," Martinez said. "Now, there's nothing wrong with the knee. He knows that. It's a mind-over-matter deal now. Once he gets here and he starts playing, I think he'll forget about everything and just go out and play."
Murphy has played 10 games with Double-A Harrisburg since May 26, hitting .243 with two home runs, four strikeouts and six walks.
Murphy has hit .334 across his two seasons with the Nationals.
The Nats raised nearly $1 million for the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation during the 13th annual Dream Gala in Washington on Saturday night. The money raised for the foundation will be used to improve academics, arts, nutrition and sports programs for children and teenagers in the Washington area.
Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.