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Gio Gonzalez injury: Nationals place left-hander on 15-day DL with shoulder inflammation

The southpaw is headed to the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals have placed left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his left shoulder, according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. Washington recalled right-hander Ryan Mattheus from Triple-A Syracuse to take Gonzalez's place on the active roster.

Gonzalez has been hit hard in his past two starts, allowing a combined 12 earned runs on 16 hits and five walks in just 7.1 innings. It took him 84 pitches to go just three innings in his start on Saturday against the Mets.

His poor performance prompted concern from Nationals' brass, who in turn ordered an MRI. The exam, performed Sunday, revealed no further structural damage, according to general manager Mike Rizzo. However, the exam required an injection of dye, which, as a side effect, puts him out for at least two starts regardless of injury. As not to waste a roster spot, and give Gonzalez some much-needed rest, placing him on the DL was the logical choice. He is expected to be back immediately following the end of his DL stint.

Since acquiring him from the Athletics in December of 2011, the Nationals have seen Gonzalez become one of the top starters in the league. In 2012, his first season with Washington, Gonzalez posted a 2.89 ERA and 4.9 WAR in 199.1 innings, while also leading the NL in wins (21), FIP (2.82), HR/9 (0.4), and K/9 (9.3), en route to a third place finish in NL Cy Young balloting. He took a step back last year, but was still excellent, putting up a 3.36 ERA, 3.1 WAR, and 2.53 K/9 in 195.2 innings. His performance has suffered a bit this season, mostly due a .312 BABIP and 8.5 H/9 that have fueled a 4.62 ERA. However, his peripherals indicate that he has still been quite solid, with his FIP (3.52), K/9 (9.4), and BB/9 (3.6) all quite a bit better than his career norms.

Gonzalez has been remarkably durable throughout his career, throwing at least 195 innings and making 32 starts in each of the past four seasons. Prior to today, Gonzalez had yet to make a trip to the disabled list in his career.

Washington's rotation, hailed as one of the best in baseball entering the year, has failed to live up to expectations, currently ranking just 19th in the majors with a 3.99 ERA, though their FIP is tremendously better at 3.41 (4th). Gonzalez' vacated spot is likely to go to either Blake Treinen or Taylor Jordan, both of whom are currently pitching in Triple-A. Both have made at least four appearances for Washington this season, with Treinen owning a 0.77 ERA in 11.2 innings, and Jordan a 5.61 ERA in 25.2 innings.

The 30-year-old Mattheus has appeared in at least 35 games for the Nationals in each of the past three seasons, owning a 3.69 ERA in 136.2 career innings, all of which have come in relief. He made two appearances for Washington earlier this season, but has spent a majority of the year at Triple-A Syracuse, where he has a 5.93 ERA in 13.2 innings.