WASHINGTON -- The struggling Washington Nationals have lost another pitcher to injury.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson will be placed on the disabled list after an MRI revealed a sprain to his right wrist area. Although the Nationals have yet to officially announce the move, manager Davey Martinez revealed that because of the severity of the injury, Hellickson would miss at least one start and therefore is headed to the DL.
"He's still pretty sore," Martinez said. "Hopefully with treatment, it'll get better quick."
Hellickson suffered the injury during his most recent outing in St. Louis on Wednesday. In the bottom of the fifth inning, he uncorked a wild pitch, then landed awkwardly while trying to cover home plate as Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader slid in safely.
Hellickson, a 31-year-old righty, is the latest Nats hurler to be sidelined. Fellow starter Stephen Strasburg has missed the last month with a pinched nerve in his neck, while closer Sean Doolittle (foot) and setup men Kelvin Herrera (shoulder) and Ryan Madson (back) are also on the shelf.
Hellickson, who missed most of June with a strained hamstring, is 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA in 18 starts with Washington this season. It's possible that Strasburg could return in time to take Hellickson's spot in the rotation.
On Wednesday, the same day that Hellickson suffered his injury, Strasburg threw about 70 pitches during a simulated game in St. Louis. He's slated to throw a bullpen session on Saturday, after which the Nationals will make a decision about his return.
Previously, Martinez had indicated that Strasburg -- who has been limited to just one start over the past 2½ months due to injuries -- would likely need a rehab stint before rejoining the Nationals. But Washington, which has dropped seven of its last 10 games and entered play on Wednesday with a .500 record (61-61), can ill afford to lose any more ground.
If Strasburg steps into Hellickson's rotation slot, he would likely make his return next week in the Tuesday opener of a series against the Philadelphia Phillies.