The Nationals placed Brad Lidge on the 15-day disabled list with an "abdominal wall strain" this evening and replaced the struggling reliever with fellow right-hander Ryan Perry, who was recalled from Class AAA Syracuse.
Lidge, 35, had been shaky in recent outings, including a blown save Saturday against the Marlins in which he walked three batters and served up the game-tying home run to Logan Morrison. He hadn't appeared in a game since.
The veteran right-hander opened the season as one-half of manager Davey Johnson's closing duo, sharing the job with the less-experienced Henry Rodriguez while regular closer Drew Storen recovers from elbow surgery. Lidge performed well out of the gate, notching the save on Opening Day in Chicago, but he blew his first save the following week in the Nationals' home opener and has struggled since.
Along the way, Johnson started using Rodriguez more regularly in the ninth inning, sliding the young flamethrower into meaningful situations more often.
Lidge's DL move is retroactive to April 22, so he would be eligible to return as soon as May 7.
Perry, 25, was 1-0 with two saves and a 2.00 ERA in eight appearances with Syracuse. A veteran of 149 big-league games with the Tigers from 2009-11, the right-hander was acquired from Detroit in December in exchange for reliever Collin Balester.
The Nationals missed out on a major trade target when news broke this afternoon that the White Sox had traded ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox.
The report comes from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Washington had been the frontrunner to land Sale as recently as this morning. And as recently as 30 minutes ago, the Nationals vs. Red Sox contest seemed like it could go either way.
But apparently the Nats couldn't match Boston's offer of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech plus two minor leaguers, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
Now, the dream rotation of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Sale won't happen.
The trade for Sale was so close, it could impact other potential deals for the Nationals. The team reportedly explored trading Gio Gonzalez to the Yankees if Sale indeed ended up in Washington.
MORE NATIONALS: Report: Nats exploring trading Gio to Yankees
Here's an interesting report for Nationals fans to keep an eye on: If Washington lands White Sox ace Chris Sale, they may trade left Gio Gonazlez to the Yankees.
From Rich Mancuso of New York Sports Day:
A reliable National League source early this morning at the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings confirmed that the Washington Nationals are close to a deal with the New York Yankees that would send lefthander Gio Gonzalez to the Bronx. In return the Yankees would send the Nationals two minor league prospects and maybe another player.
Mancuso stipulates that the trade agreement, which is not yet official, would be contingent upon the Nationals acquiring Sale.
Gonzalez, 31, is in the last year of his contact with Washington after arriving in 2012 from Oakland. He finished the 2016 season with an 11-11 record, 4.57 ERA and 171 strikeouts.
UPDATE 1:34 p.m.: The Nationals lost on out Sale, who was instead traded to the Red Sox.
MORE NATIONALS: Syndergaard already tired of Sale to Nationals hype