Kintzler said he has been dealing with this issue off and on for a nearly a month, and it turned into bigger problem this week. The reliever struggled Friday, recording only one out, allowing three runs on three hits with no walks, two strikeouts and a hit by pitch. Saturday, he hit another batter and allowed a double to Buster Posey.
“(It) just got to the point where I really couldn’t control where I was throwing the ball any more,” Kintzler said. “I have hit three guys in three days, to where I feel like I might hit one guy a year. It just got to the point where it was dangerous for me, it was dangerous for the team, I didn’t want to put them in jeopardy anymore.”
Kintzler admitted he has had this type of strain in his forearm in the past. Strengthening the area and intensive physical therapy have helped to get him back healthy the last time this injry occurred.
“In the past I dealt with it before I’ve been able to get rid of it,” Kintzler said. “It’s been lingering on and off this year. When we got rained out that whole week against the Yankees I thought I was pretty safe. I thought I was good to go.”
Nationals manager Davey Martinez was relieved to find out that it wasn’t anything major right now, and hopes that getting Kintzler some rest will pay dividends later in the season. Kintzler has pitched four times since June 2, two sets of back-to-back appearances.
“Structurally everything is good,” said Martinez. “That’s good news. I think for him it’s a little bit of a mental break. I’ve asked them all to like really step up and they’ve pitched a lot. I think it will be good for him, 10 days. He says he thinks that’s all he needs and he’ll be fine. The way our bullpen is now we’ve got some extra guys. I think we’ll be fine.”
Kintzler said they tried to rehab the flexor issue as he stayed on the roster.
“Some outings were really good where I knew I was throwing the ball and some where I just couldn’t really control it,” Kintzler said. “But it’s to the point where bullpen is throwing really well, team’s throwing really well. I feel like I can take a break and get it fixed and be back for the stretch.
“Probably just some rest and some strengthening. That’s probably what we’ll do. I don’t know what the timetable is but I’m sure it will be no more than 10 days, whatever we need.”
Martinez said they probably will not go with just one hurler for the seventh inning relief as they did with Kintzler.
“We’ll mix and match,” Martinez said. “I like the guys that we have and what they’re doing. Having those couple of extra lefties in the bullpen it gives us options to do different things.”
One pitcher that could slip right into that spot is Justin Miller who has struck out 17 in seven games and hasn’t allowed any runs. Miller notched the win Saturday with two huge outs to stop a Giants rally.
“Honestly, yesterday, the spot I put him in, was a big moment,” Martinez said. “He did really well. To me that was the game right there. He came in and gave up one run bases loaded and shut the door down. I have put him in big moments and he’s stepped up. It’s really nice to see and I’m not afraid to put him in big moments.”
Kintzler said he has tried to figure out the problem the last few games.
“I’ve been searching through my mechanics I feel like for over three weeks trying to figure out what’s wrong with me,” Kintzler said. “And in reality, ended up being something with my elbow, can’t get that last extension that I need for good sinker.”
“Just a lot of tightness. If I extended my elbow straight it was pretty tight to where we worked on it earlier in the day and it got really loose and I was good to go and then it started tightening back up.”
Martinez updated the progress of starter Jeremy Hellickson who is out with a right hamstring strain. He said the right-hander has not started throwing yet.
“All strengthening stuff right now,” said Martinez.
With Stephen Strasburg also on the disabled list and his spot coming up Wednesday in New York against the Yankees, the likely candidate to fill for that start is right-hander Erick Fedde because it would be his turn in the rotation, coming up from Triple-A Syracuse.