Washington Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is suffering with an intercostal strain and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. It is uncertain when he will be able to return. 

Continue for updates. 

Baker Comments on Papelbon’s Injury

Tuesday, June 14

Manager Dusty Baker told reporters that Papelbon suffered the injury warming up on Sunday, adding that participating in a postgame celebration “didn’t help.”

On Monday, Baker told reporters his closer “was feeling pretty sore, and he was ailing, so we didn’t really have Pap tonight.”

Papelbon Placed on DL, Belisle Called Up

Tuesday, June 14

According to Dan Kolko of MASN Sports, Papelbon was placed on the disabled list, and the Nationals activated Matt Belisle from the DL to take his spot.   

Nationals Have Depth to Handled Papelbon’s Absence

The Nationals did not use Papelbon in Monday’s 4-1 victory over the Chicago CubsPer Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post noted Papelbon was in the Nationals clubhouse prior to the game Monday and was “seemingly moving around as normal.” The 35-year-old pitched Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing one run and earning the win thanks to Jayson Werth’s walk-off single. 

This has been an unusual season for Papelbon. He’s still getting saves because the Nationals are one of the league’s best teams, but his fastball velocity (90.7) and strikeout rate (6.9) are the worst marks of his career, per FanGraphs. 

Papelbon has a lot of years and mileage on his arm, so it would be unfair to expect him to return to an All-Star level like he was at his peak. 

The good news for Washington is Belisle is a good reliever. He had a 2.67 ERA last year in St. Louis and a 1.50 ERA in seven appearances with the Nationals before going on the DL. 

Losing Papelbon for at least 15 days does hurt Washington’s bullpen, but the team is well equipped to keep playing well with a strong starting rotation and reliever depth. 


Stats per FanGraphs.

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