The Washington Nationals’ bullpen saga took an unexpected turn Saturday when closer Koda Glover, after blowing a save in the ninth inning, admitted that he suffered a back injury while showering before the game.
Glover told reporters that he experienced back discomfort throughout the game but still attempted to close out the ninth inning because he had not pitched in the past three days. He did not tell manager Dusty Baker or the training staff about the injury until after the game.
“I was taking a shower, bent over to get my body wash, stood up and had a little kink,” Glover told reporters, according to The Washington Post. “With some issues I’ve had lately, I kind of pushed myself.
“I didn’t want to take a day off. I’ve had three days off already, so I pushed the limits today, tried to pitch through it. And it’s one of them things where it was out of my control and I should have said something early. I didn’t and now my back’s in pretty bad shape.”
On Sunday, the Nationals put Glover on the 10-day disabled list because of lower back stiffness, and recalled right-hander Joe Blanton, who missed 21 games because of right shoulder inflammation.
Washington had a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning Saturday against the Texas Rangers, but Glover gave up two runs and failed to finish the frame. The Rangers won the game 6-3 in 11 innings.
It was the second blown save this season for Glover and the 10th this season for Washington, which entered Sunday with a bullpen ERA of 4.91 — the second worst in the National League.
The Nationals, who were in the mix to land Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen in free agency this past offseason, used Blake Treinen and Shawn Kelley at closer this year before trying out Glover in the ninth-inning role.
Glover, 24, leads the Nationals with eight saves but also has a 5.12 ERA in 23 appearances this season. The hard-throwing right-hander spent 14 games on the DL last month because of a hip strain — an aggravation of the torn labrum in his hip that forced the Nationals to shut him down last season.
“I’m tired of being hurt,” Glover said. “Never been hurt before until last year, and ever since then, it just seems like something new keeps popping up every day.”