Nationals reliever Matt Belisle exited Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies in the top of the eighth inning with a right calf strain, a recurring injury he first sustained over the offseason and dealt with during spring training. The veteran right-hander left after facing just one batter in the 4-3 loss.
Belisle threw three pitches to Phillies outfielder David Lough before the coaches and training staff saw something. Manager Dusty Baker, pitching coach Mike Maddux and trainer Paul Lessard all came to the mound to watch Belisle toss some warmup throws. After a few they called on lefty Felipe Rivero to replace him.
Belisle said he hurt his calf stepping off the pitcher's mound on a groundball by Lough to first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
"Just the way my feet were and I moved, and I strained it. I had done this in the offseason working on sprints, so I think I re-aggrevated that, pretty much exact same spot, exact same movement, so I knew it immediately," Belisle said.
Belisle, 35, was making his eighth appearance of the season with the Nats. He has a 1.50 ERA in 6 1/3 innings.
Belisle was walking through the Nats clubhouse after Tuesday's game with a significant limp, but believes this particular calf strain is not as bad as the one he had this winter.
"We did a tremendous job [rehabbing], and I've been flawless since then. But what's interesting is that was the exact same movement as the initial tweak way back in the offseason. I don't know what to say other than I gotta see what happens tomorrow, how bad it is."
The Nationals are in a tricky spot with their bullpen now after Sunday's 16-inning win over the Twins. That could convince them to make a roster move to get some extra relief help while Belisle is out of commission.
Trevor Gott, who has a 3.48 ERA through seven outings at Triple-A Syracuse, could be an option. Sammy Solis, Abel De Los Santos, Matt Grace and Rafael Martin are also on the 40-man roster and have MLB experience.