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Nationals place Stephen Strasburg, Brandon Kintzler on DL

Strasburg and Kintzler are the latest players to hit the DL in what’s been an injury-plagued season for the Nats.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals Photo by Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals have placed starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder strain) and reliever Brandon Kintzler (right forearm flexor strain) on the 10-day disabled list, per a club announcement Sunday morning.

The injuries are just the latest unfortunate developments in what’s been an injury-marred season for the Nationals, as Strasburg and Kintzler become the 10th and 11th Nationals players currently on the disabled list, with guys like Ryan Madson, Anthony Rendon, Adam Eaton, and Brian Goodwin now healthy but having spent time on the DL earlier this year.

Strasburg’s injury could present a significant setback to the Nats if he’s out for any prolonged period of time. He left Friday’s game after just 2.0 innings due to the injury, and manager Dave Martinez provided no timetable for his return on Sunday. His numbers haven’t been quite as good this year as they were in 2017 — and that’s reasonable, as that was the best full season of his nine-year major-league career — but he’s still been quite effective, posting a 3.46 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over 13 starts while averaging more than six innings per outing. To be kind, the Nationals’ starting pitching depth is suspect, and with Jeremy Hellickson already on the DL it’ll be interesting to see how Washington fills its multiple rotation vacancies.

26-year-old Phillips Valdez has been the only consistently good starting pitcher at Triple-A Syracuse, and he’s spent time in the bullpen this season as well. 40-man roster members Erick Fedde, Jefry Rodriguez, and Austin Voth would seem to be the most likely candidates to receive call-ups once Strasburg and Hellickson’s spots in the rotation need to be filled.

Kintzler, the former Twins closer who has filled a middle-relief role this year, has posted a 4.45 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over 31 appearances, and he hasn’t really looked right. It appears as if he won’t miss much time, as he said he just needs a “short break” to recover on Sunday, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. Though Kintzler’s absence will perhaps negatively affect the team in the short term, its effects may pay off if they end up with a more rested and effective Kintzler down the stretch. With the disabled list having been reduced from 15 days to 10 days in the most recent CBA, it really makes sense for teams to give relievers short breaks like this whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Right-handed relievers Trevor Gott and Wander Suero were recalled to take the two veterans’ spots on the 25-man roster. Both Gott and Suero have seen previous big-league action with the Nats this season, though neither has been exceptionally consistent.