Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats will be without Pudge for at least two weeks.
Ivan Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list this morning with a lower back strain, a significant blow for a Nationals club that is woefully thin in the catching department right now.
When Rodriguez had to come out of Saturday's game against the Orioles with a recurrence of the back pain that has nagged him on and off all season, it didn't raise too many red flags. But then the future Hall of Famer said he would need at least a couple of days off. When he didn't board the team's charter flight to San Francisco last night, a DL move seemed imminent.
All of a sudden, the Nationals face a major dilemma behind the plate. Wil Nieves takes over as the primary starter, but he's never been an everyday catcher in the big leagues. And the organization has no viable backup to him at this moment.
Chris Coste (picked up in late spring) just had Tommy John surgery and is done for the year. Jamie Burke (picked up late last season in a similar emergency situation) is still recovering from knee surgery. Jesus Flores is nowhere near ready to return from his shoulder injury. The two catchers at Syracuse are journeymen Carlos Maldonado and Devin Ivany, each currently hitting under .225 at Class AAA.
Don't be surprised if general manager Mike Rizzo has to go outside the organization to find another short-term catching option.