Washington Nationals’ right-hander Kelvin Herrera, who’s been closing out games with Sean Doolittle is on the Disabled List, gave up three hits and two runs in the ninth inning tonight against the Atlanta Braves, putting the visiting team ahead, 3-1, and he left the mound with what Nats’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the loss was tightness in his right shoudler. Herrera will have an MRI tomorrow.
“His right shoulder tightened up on him, so he’s scheduled for an MRI in the morning,” Martinez explained, adding that it was the first time he heard of the reliever having any issues with the shoulder.
Asked if he saw any sign of an issue tonight, Martinez said, “We were looking at him, his ball was coming out okay, and then when I saw him go like this,” the skipper said, shaking out his arm as Herrera had.
“I thought there was something wrong, so [catcher Matt] Wieters went out there, then we went out and I asked him what was wrong and he said his shoulder is tight, so I said, ‘That’s it, you’re done.’ He said, ‘Well...’ I said, ‘You’re done.’”
Martinez talked after that outing about what he’d seen from the 28-year-old righty.
“I know he hasn’t been so clean, but he competes,” Martinez said, “and he gets outs regardless of whether he’s throwing 25 pitches or ten pitches, he goes out there and competes.”
Herrera’s velocity was as expected, 94-96 tonight, though the last two pitches were in the high 80s (and were classified as changeups by MLB.com’s Gameday), but he said felt off and couldn’t finish his pitches:
“I started feeling it actually when I got out on the actual field mound, and started warming up, getting my tosses in and getting ready,” Herrera explained.
“I couldn’t finish pitches and I felt like I was aiming them instead of throwing them,” he added.
“I’ve never felt that before and it’s the first time that I’ve felt something like this,” Herrera said. Asked what his level of concern was, he said he would wait and see.
“We’ve got to see the results tomorrow. We’ll see what we do tomorrow and see what it is.”
More info when it’s available tomorrow, but losing Herrera for any length of time would be a big blow. Martinez said Sunday that the Nationals didn’t have any timetable for Doolittle yet, and though they acquired Greg Holland (who made his debut in D.C. in the day half of the Nats and Braves’ doubleheader today), he’s struggled this season. So who closes out games now if/when Herrera ends up on the DL as well?