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Shoulder inflammation holding back Nats' Glover

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Nationals closer Koda Glover went to the DL with lower back stiffness June 11, but he said severe inflammation of his right rotator cuff has prevented him from returning to baseball activity.

Glover said he first felt shoulder pain before the Nationals began their series with the Giants on May 29, and he tried to pitch through the injury before reaggravating it June 10. The right-hander doesn't know when he'll begin throwing again as he waits for the inflammation to decline.

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WASHINGTON -- Nationals closer Koda Glover went to the DL with lower back stiffness June 11, but he said severe inflammation of his right rotator cuff has prevented him from returning to baseball activity.

Glover said he first felt shoulder pain before the Nationals began their series with the Giants on May 29, and he tried to pitch through the injury before reaggravating it June 10. The right-hander doesn't know when he'll begin throwing again as he waits for the inflammation to decline.

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"I didn't really know what was sore, what was hurt," Glover said. "Nothing was really hurt, I thought, so I just kept pitching. Over time, I guess it just broke down, so my body broke down with it, the overcompensation. It's one of those things where I'm just gonna have to take a step back, rest, get strong and then hopefully come back."

Glover felt the injury worsen in the shower the morning before the Nationals played the Rangers on June 10. Glover still entered in the ninth inning and had an uncharacteristic performance, giving up the Nationals' 3-1 lead by allowing two runs. The 24-year-old said playing that game worsened the back and shoulder pain, and he couldn't lift his arm the following day.

Glover went to the DL for 17 days between April and May with a left hip impingement, but he said this is the first time in his career he's dealt with shoulder damage.

"It's obviously frustrating," Glover said. "You want to play. It's what you wake up to do. It's your job. But it's one of those things where it's kind of out of your control. I'm just doing what I can to get healthy and be back as soon as possible."

When Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Glover the closer May 25, the team's bullpen improved. Glover recorded eight saves in 10 opportunities. Without Glover, Baker has switched between different closers and has received inconsistent results as the bullpen entered Wednesday tied for the third-worst ERA in the Major Leagues.

Plus, Shawn Kelley, who closed earlier this season and has the second-most saves on the team (four), is on the DL with a right trapezius strain and threw for the first time Monday.

Matt Albers entered Wednesday leading the bullpen with a 1.88 ERA, but he was just 2-for-4 in save opportunities this season. He gave up a game-winning home run in his most recent save opportunity, against the Braves on June 12.

Blake Treinen struggled as the closer at the start of the season, but he's improved as he's recorded a 3.00 ERA in June after pitching to ERAs of 9.00 and 5.11 in April and May, respectively. Enny Romero is also a closer option as the left-hander hadn't surrendered an earned run in 14 2/3 innings this month entering Wednesday.

Still, Baker said claiming a "bona fide closer" would steady the bullpen with just over a month until the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Nats sign second-round pick

The Nationals have signed right-hander Wil Crowe, the 65th-overall pick in the 2017 Draft, for full pick value at $946,500. On Draft night, Nationals scouting director Kris Kline said he was "extremely elated" to see Crowe, from the University of South Carolina, fall to Washington.

Crowe, who was rated as the No. 44 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, was the Friday night starter for South Carolina this season. He posted a 3.41 ERA in 15 outings with 90 strikeouts in a team-high 92 1/3 innings. He helped lead the Gamecocks to victory in the Southeastern Conference Tournament against Missouri on May 25 by giving up one run on four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts over six innings.

After just nine starts as a sophomore in 2015, Crowe underwent Tommy John surgery in April of that year and missed the '16 season. Despite this, he was still named to the 2017 Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List.

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

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Koda Glover