Rodriguez to miss team’s road trip; headed to DL

UPDATE AT 10:54 A.M ON MONDAY: The Nationals just placed Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, so he’ll miss the team’s 10-game road trip to San Francisco, San Diego and Houston. He would be eligible to return against Pittsburgh on June 8.

Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez did not make the team’s road trip to San Francisco on Sunday night after aggravating a lower back injury on Saturday. He is expected to miss the entire 10-game road trip, which means there’s a good chance he’ll go on the disabled list so the Nationals can get another catcher to back up Wil Nieves.

Rodriguez didn’t play on Sunday, so the Nationals could essentially put him on the disabled list retroactive to today and have him back by June 8. It would mean he’d still be unavailable for a possible Stephen Strasburg debut during the Reds series from June 4-6. The Nationals could also try to play down a bench player; Mike Morse is available as an emergency catcher, and manager Jim Riggleman said on Sunday morning that Adam Kennedy could also catch in a dire situation.

“Morse would be the first guy we’d try there,” Riggleman said. “There’s a couple other guys that have offered their services there -- Kennedy, (Alberto) Gonzalez.’

If the Nationals did DL Rodriguez without adding another catcher, they would be able to keep an extra outfielder throughout the road trip (they called up Justin Maxwell on Sunday, and will need another starter on May 29,

Riggleman said on Sunday morning that the Nationals were hoping Rodriguez would only be out a couple days, but apparently decided to spare him the long flight to the West Coast and the 10-day travel schedule. The 38-year-old has been playing through back pain the last several series.

However long Rodriguez’s absence is, it’s a blow to an offense that’s due to face some tough pitching on the upcoming road trip, starting with two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum on Wednesday. Rodriguez is second on the team with a .325 batting average.