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Ivan Rodriguez placed on 15-day disabled list (Updated)

The Nationals placed Ivan Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list today, meaning their veteran catcher will miss the entirety of their 10-game road trip -- and will not be behind the plate on June 4, the likely first start of phenon Stephen Strasburg.

Rodriguez left Saturday's game against the Baltimore Orioles with lower back pain after swinging and missing a pitch. He grimaced in the batter's box and received a visit from Nationals medical staff. He finished the at-bat and slammed his helmet to the ground. Rodriguez did not come back into the game to play defense, then sat out yesterday.

Wil Nieves will likely become the Nationals' primary starting catcher until Rodriguez returns. Replacing Rodriguez, 38, will be a difficult proposition for the Nationals, particularly on offense. Rodriguez has hit .325 this year, first among National League catchers, with a .352 on-base percentage, nine doubles and 16 RBI. Nieves is a strong defensive catcher who is 13 for 58 this season with no walks, three doubles and a homer.

The Nationals may look outside their organization for temporary help behind Nieves. They signed veteran Chris Coste for backup insurance at the end of spring training, but he is on the disabled list and out for the season. The regular catchers for Class AAA Syracuse are Carlos Maldonado, a 16-year minor league veteran who has appeared in 21 major league games, and Devin Ivany, a 27-year-old hitting .222 at Syracuse who had not played above Class AAA before this season.

UPDATE, 4:17 p.m.: Colleague Dave Sheinin, in Syracuse, reports that Carlos Maldonado is not listed on the lineup card. Maldonado will join the Nationals in San Francisco as their second catcher.

Another option inside the organization is Jamie Burke, a career .277 hitter in 390 major league at-bats. Burke, 38, underwent surgery at the end of spring training to repair a torn meniscus. He rehabbed in extended spring training and this morning was on his way to Syracuse to join the Class AAA Chiefs. He believes his experience would allow him to join the Nationals without any time at Class AAA.

"I think I'm ready to play now," Burke said. "I know these guys. I've been around this game a long time. Baseball is baseball. The pitching is obviously different. It just depends on what they want to do. I know I can do it. It's what they prefer."

An option outside the organization became conveniently available this morning. The Phillies designated catcher Paul Hoover for assignment. Hoover, 34, has played in 37 major league games in a professional career that began in 1997. His ability as a receiver is well regarded.

The Nationals have been without one of their best catchers all season. Jesus Flores remains in extended spring training trying to rehab his right shoulder, on which he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum this offseason. Flores is on the 60-day disabled and not officially available until June 3. He will not likely be ready to play in the majors until much later.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 24, 2010; 11:05 AM ET
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Next: Bog: June 4 tickets moving briskly


Who is #89 on Nats? He's on the front of slapping Willingham after the HR yesterday. Anyone?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 24, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Under new Bill, Health insurance is a must, but now you can easily find health insurance for your family under $40

Posted by: talbertjo13 | May 24, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Section505203 | May 24, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Man, we're going through catchers like Spinal Tap went through drummers.

Posted by: LandoverHillsBoysClub | May 24, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

dovelevine, I think it's our bullpen catcher.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 24, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse


A loud cry of "Who?!?" is no longer for Wil Nieves, but for whomever the Nats call up for Rodriguez's replacement.


Posted by: kevincostello | May 24, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Sign Bryce Harper and have him start at catcher June 8.

Fantasy, of course, and he isn't ready as a catcher, but you wonder if he could hit major-league pitching.


Posted by: kevincostello | May 24, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Under Health Care Reform, Medical insurance is a must, but you can easily find medical insurance for you under $40

Posted by: talbertjo13 | May 24, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

#89 is Jose Martinez:

(Or maybe Jo. Martin based on that image, but I'm pretty sure I remember a Jose Martinez being a Nat coach).

Posted by: joebleux | May 24, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Just since the start of spring training: Marquis,Lannan, Zimmerman, Pudge, Olsen, Coste. Add to that holdover injureds Detwiler, Flores, Zimmermann. It's a third of a team.

Like many, I believe Pudge's presence has been an important part of the Nats' better performance this year, both behind the plate and at bat. This is really bad news -- and a shame he won't be behind the plate for SS.

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 24, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"Sign Bryce Harper and have him start at catcher June 8.

Fantasy, of course, and he isn't ready as a catcher, but you wonder if he could hit major-league pitching.


Not such a fantasy, since the other catcher in the minors just got beaned in the head and is out as well. Yes, DRAFT, SIGN, AND START HARPER on June 8.

Posted by: dorseylaw | May 24, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

This is tough. Wonder if there are any vets we can pick up, I didn't even know Coste was out for the year. As far as S throwing to Nieves, that's like me sleeping with Marisa Miller... just a little out of my class.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | May 24, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Sux for Pudge. I'm guessing he was really looking forward to catching Strasburg's debut. Anyway, call up Maldonado for the gig. At least he and Sras will have 5 games together by that point and I think it's safe to assume there's no offensive drop off from Nieves to Maldonado.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 24, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Ivany, Solano, or Rooney get a shot at catching in the bigs. I think the larger issue though is how weak are cacthing prospects are at AAA & AA

Carlos Maldonado (1/3/79) BA .218 OBP .293
Devin Ivany (7/27/82) BA .222 OBP .307
Jhonathan Solano (8/12/85)BA .213 OBP .257
Sean Rooney (4/12/86) BA .170 OBP .286

Posted by: PNatsFan | May 24, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

What happened to Coste? How did he get hurt?

Posted by: PNatsFan | May 24, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The Phillies this morning designated Paul Hoover, who had been backing up Carlos Ruiz, for assignment now that Brian Schneider has come back from the DL. On an emergency basis, that may be as good as we can do (and it would be another presidential name!).

Posted by: sjberke | May 24, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Activate Matt Lecroy from his Hagerstown managing duties and see if the opponents can steal him blind. Riggles will be forced to remove him in the middle of an inning & start crying when talking about it after the game. Good times!

Posted by: jsparks | May 24, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I'd guess Rizzo stays inside the orginization for a replacement. Place Coste on the 60-DL & purchase Burke, Ivany or Maldonado.

Posted by: BinM | May 24, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Bring back Muddy Ruel!

Posted by: FergusonFoont | May 24, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Be nice to get Brian Schneider back.

Posted by: lowcountry | May 24, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Muddy Ruel!!! Excellent!!!

But forget him, bring back Paul Casanova!

Posted by: baltova1 | May 24, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Since what we're talking about is a backup to Nieves for the time being (hopefully a short time being) and specifically who's going to catch Strasburg on the 4th/5th/6th of June (hoping for the 6th, part of my season package) I think the obvious answer is Carlos Maldonado. He has caught all three games for Strasburg at Syracuse, and they seem to have gone pretty well, don't you think? I'm not concerned about his offense (though he was on base at least once in each of SS's starts) it would be great for SS to have a familiar face back there. Going to have to depend mightily on McCatty to actually call the game, since neither SS nor CM have seen any of the hitters they'll be facing.

All that being said.....HURRY BACK PUDGE!!!

But only when you're ready, don't turn two weeks into two months, please.

Posted by: RPrecupjr | May 24, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Ivany has worked with lots of the younger guys as they climbed through the system and I believe he worked with Strasburg this year a lot in Spring Training, it would be nice to give him a cup of coffee like we did Montz a few yearas ago.

Posted by: markfd | May 24, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

On the bright side, some of our pitchers can handle a bat: Livo and Stammen (and Storen!) Can hit and Lannan can run up pitch counts by fouling balls off


Posted by: arlingtontwb | May 24, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I hear that Paul Lo Duca is available.

Posted by: nattydread1 | May 24, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Jose Martinez throws batting practice.
The bullpen catchers are Julian Martinez and Nilson Robledo.

Posted by: jenjensn | May 24, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I guess if you don't make it to the big leagues when your young, then forget about it. The ages and the # of big league apperances by these guys are amazing. Sounds like a bunch of real life Crash Davises.

Posted by: nicefellow311 | May 24, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

At least Crash Davis hit sick bombs a fair amount. Maldonado is just moldy.

Eh, only needs to catch a game or two though.

Posted by: CJArlington | May 24, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...Maldonado is getting called up. He has experience catching a certain AAA pitcher...

Posted by: js_edit | May 24, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Storen is already up. Stasburg comes up next week.
Time to bring up D. Norris for OJT at catcher.
Future Nats Now!

(On the Job Training)

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | May 25, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

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