Ross Detwiler has already been out the last three weeks with a lower back injury.
It appears the Nationals' left-hander will miss at least another month on top of that.
Detwiler met with Dr. Robert Watkins, a back specialist out in the Los Angeles area, today to get a second opinion on his ailing back, and the word from Dr. Watkins wasn't great.
Manager Davey Johnson reported after tonight's 4-2 loss to the Pirates that Detwiler has a disc problem, which is leading to the discomfort in the left side of his lower back. The early diagnosis is that Detwiler will miss around a month after receiving an injection to try and clear up the issue.
"It's causing the pinching in the nerve, which is causing that to spasm," Johnson said. "I think the procedure is to give him an injection. But he's got to rest it."
Detwiler started the season on a tear, pitching to a 2.53 ERA through his first seven starts. He suffered an oblique injury during a May 15 start against the Dodgers, however, and missed nearly a month while on the DL.
He returned in mid-June, but made just five more starts before this current back issue caused the Nationals to put him on the disabled list again. In those five outings, Detwiler went 0-3 with a 6.31 ERA.
Taylor Jordan has assumed Detwiler's spot in the rotation for the time being, but the rookie right-hander is on an innings limit this season in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery, further complicating the issues at the back of the Nats' rotation.
Ross Ohlendorf, who will start the second game of Friday's doubleheader against the Mets, is a candidate to take over Detwiler's spot either in the near future or once Jordan is shut down.