Updated at 1:05 p.m.
The Nationals placed outfielder Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list with a strained intercostal muscle this morning, a move that cleared roster space for left-hander Tom Gorzelanny to be activated off the DL and start the series finale against the Orioles.
Ankiel hadn't played since Tuesday, when he felt a twinge in his ribcage tracking down Ryan Theriot's base hit to center field in the top of the first. He departed the game one inning later, not wanting to risk further injury.
The 31-year-old had resumed baseball activities over the weekend and took batting this morning. The ribcage strain, though, requires rest in order to heal -- Ryan Zimmerman missed the final 10 games of the 2010 season with the same injury -- so the Nationals took no chances and placed Ankiel on the DL.
"It feels better, definite improvement," Ankiel said. "But it's a touchy area. If I really blow that area out, I'm in trouble. So take the extra few days, get it right, get healthy and here we go."
The move is retroactive to June 15, so Ankiel (batting .204 with one homer and nine RBI in 48 games) will be eligible to return on July 1. He expects to go on a rehab assignment within the next few days.
Gorzelanny returns after a three-week stint on the DL with elbow inflammation. The left-hander made a rehab start Monday for Class AAA Syracuse and pronounced himself ready to return.