The Nationals bullpen got a little thinner on Sunday when closer Sean Doolittle was placed on the Injured List with right knee tendinitis.
On Tuesday, the unit almost had another pitcher endure an IL-needing injury, as recently-acquired relief pitcher Hunter Strickland nearly injured himself in a weight room accident in Pittsburgh just hours prior to the Nationals matchup with the Pirates.
Strickland had a bar strike the right side of his face, according to manager Dave Martinez, the Washington Post reported. When seen walking in the clubhouse, the reliever had a stripped band-aid on his nose to couple with a very red face.
Strickland posted a picture of himself on Instagram, suggesting that he had broken his nose after getting mixed up with a barbell. According to The Washington Post, Strickland was seen in the clubhouse with a bandaged nose moments before the picture went live on social media.
“Broke nose never killed anyone. We have a playoff push so let’s keep it going @nationals This team is special!,” he wrote. “Side note: barbell=1 me=0.”
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He underwent X-rays at PNC Park, and they confirmed that Strickland suffered a broken nose.
Earlier this season Nationals ace Max Scherzer bunted a pitch into his face during batting practice and suffered a broken nose. He was able to make his scheduled start the very next day, albeit with a black eye. From the sound of things, Strickland will be the second Nationals pitcher this year on the mound with a shiner.
Strickland, 30, signed a one-year contract with the Mariners this past offseason, but made only four appearances with the team around a lat injury. He was traded to the Nationals last month and they can retain him next year as an arbitration-eligible player.
Strickland did not pitch in the 4-1 loss, but manager Dave Martinez told reporters after the game that Strickland was available if they needed him. He should not have to be placed on the injury list, Martinez said.
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