The strained oblique muscle Ivan Rodriguez suffered during batting practice this morning could force the veteran catcher to the disabled list.
Rodriguez felt a pull on his right side during early workouts prior to the Nationals' game against the Cubs. He then aggravated the strain during batting practice and was quickly scratched from the starting lineup, storming off the field after slamming his bat to a bag of balls.
"It happens," he said. "It happened during batting practice, and what can you do? These things happen just like this, and it got me today."
The Nationals initially classified Rodriguez's removal from the lineup as "precautionary" and suggested he would be available to pinch-hit if needed. But the 39-year-old required treatment throughout the afternoon and evening and struggled to put his shirt on after the game.
Rodriguez will be re-evaluated tomorrow once he arrives at the ballpark, but he acknowledged the club can't afford to proceed for long without one of its two catchers.
"I've never experienced this kind of injury. It never happens to me," he said. "We'll see what happens tomorrow. Day-to-day. If tomorrow's not better ... we need a catcher. But let's see what happens tomorrow."
Rodriguez is hitting .214 with two homers, 19 RBI and seven doubles in 39 games this season as a backup to rookie catcher Wilson Ramos. He's 158 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.