Nationals starter Hellickson exits in 1st with leg injury
ATLANTA (AP) Starter Jeremy Hellickson will have an MRI after straining his right hamstring, forcing him to leave with one out in the first inning of the Washington Nationals‘ 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
As Hellickson ran to cover Ozzie Albies’ grounder, a throwing error by first baseman Mark Reynolds caused him to drop the ball as he came down on the bag. Hellickson immediately clutched the back top of his leg and walked slowly off the field.
Hellickson is likely to go on the disabled list, another setback for the injury-riddled Nationals.
”I tried to walk, and it just kept grabbing on me,” he said. ”It’s really frustrating. It’s exactly what I didn’t want to happen. The bullpen threw seven shutout innings yesterday and now they have to get 26 more outs. I tried to walk it off, but I couldn’t.”
Jefry Rodriguez, recalled earlier in the day from Double-A Harrisburg, immediately warmed up to make his major league debut. He allowed six base runners in 4 2-3 scoreless innings.
Washington has 10 players on the DL, with Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Eaton among the most significant. Stephen Strasburg departed with cramps in his left forearm and hand late in Friday’s loss, and Matt Adams was out of Sunday’s lineup after fouling a ball off his foot the night before.
The Nationals have been so taxed that they successfully used ace Max Scherzer to pinch hit and score the tiebreaking run in the 14th inning of Saturday’s win. Tanner Roark, who took the loss Thursday, pitched the ninth Sunday and gave up Charlie Culberson’s two-run, pinch-hit homer.
”It’s the part of the game that we don’t like,” manager Dave Martinez said. ”It stinks. It happens, but unfortunately it’s happened a lot this year. We have a day off tomorrow, which our bullpen needs very bad, and our other boys, too.”
Hellickson is the second starter in franchise history to throw fewer than five pitches before exiting. Dennis Martinez made one pitch for the Montreal Expos on Sept. 9, 1990 and left after getting hit in the collarbone.
More AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball