A.J. Cole to start Monday over Stephen Strasburg, but Nats must put someone on DL

Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker said he plans to shuffle the team's pitching rotation heading into Monday's game against the Miami Marlins.

Baker said the team will insert A.J. Cole into the rotation and start him on Monday, replacing scheduled starter Stephen Strasburg in the series opener between National League East foes.

Since Cole was demoted less than 10 days ago, the Nats can add the 25-year-old right-hander only to replace an injured player. An announcement on a corresponding move is expected to come Monday.

Cole is 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts this season for the Nationals. Strasburg (11-4, 2.90 ERA) is coming off of his best outing of the season, having thrown just his second career complete game, a six-hit shutout of the Marlins that included eight strikeouts and just one walk.

Strasburg's gem against the Marlins last week was just his third start since his return from a nerve impingement in his right forearm. The injury forced the righty to go on the DL and miss nearly a month.

Baker's comments came a day after staff ace Max Scherzer left his start early after being hit in the left leg by a comebacker. Despite the timing of the Cole announcement, Baker said Scherzer is expected to make his scheduled start Thursday and was only experiencing soreness Sunday.

Washington (82-54) holds a 15-game lead over the Marlins in the NL East but dropped three of four to the Brewers in Milwaukee.