PITTSBURGH - Hunter Strickland said he broke his nose in a weightlifting accident this afternoon, but the Nationals reliever has been cleared to pitch tonight and he’ll be available out of the bullpen if needed.
Strickland was working out in the weight room at PNC Park when he was struck in the face by a barbell, according to manager Davey Martinez. Strickland walked through the visitors’ clubhouse a short while after with a bandage over the bridge of his nose and with discoloration and swelling on the right side of his face.
Strickland departed the ballpark and went to a nearby doctor’s office to receive X-rays. He returned in time to head out to right field and play catch at 6 p.m. and appeared fine. He then signed autographs for fans and told them he had broken his nose but was cleared to pitch tonight.
The Nationals didn’t immediately announce results of the X-ray, but Strickland revealed details in a Twitter post at 6:29 p.m.
Strickland could become the second member of the Nationals pitching staff to take the mound with a broken nose this summer. Max Scherzer broke his nose on an errant batting practice bunt June 18 at Nationals Park, then started the following night and shut out the Phillies over seven innings.
The Nats need Strickland, one of their three July 31 bullpen acquisitions, down the stretch, especially with closer Sean Doolittle now on the 10-day injured list with right knee tendinitis. The veteran setup man has allowed only one run and four hits in eight appearances since joining the team.
One of the other relievers acquired on July 31, Roenis Elías, is making progress in his return from a strained right hamstring that landed him on the IL. Elías, who hurt himself running down the first base line in his first appearance for the Nationals, is scheduled to throw off a mound Thursday for the first time since suffering the injury.
Update: So much for the offensive explosion. The Nationals were held scoreless for four innings tonight by Chris Archer, who lasted only one inning before departing with right shoulder discomfort, and emergency reliever Clay Holmes, who turned in 3 2/3 scoreless innings. But once Michael Feliz entered in the fifth, the Nats finally broke through. Anthony Rendon doubled to the gap in right-center, scoring Adam Eaton from first and giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Stephen Strasburg has cruised from the get-go, with five scoreless innings on a mere 65 pitches.