Aug 8, 2015, 3:52 PM EST
Updated at 6:52 p.m.
Needing to open up a roster spot for Stephen Strasburg’s return Saturday night, the Nationals placed second baseman Dan Uggla on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms, leaving the club with a thin bench for the time being.
Uggla said he had been dealing with back issues the last couple of days.
“Just one of those things; back tightens up and you’ve got to take a few days, two weeks, to get it back straight,” he said. “It locks up on you, and there’s nothing you can really do about it. I’ll get some treatment, let these guys work on me and hopefully will be back soon.”
The veteran infielder appeared as a pinch-hitter during Friday night’s loss, striking out in the bottom of the seventh. It was only his second plate appearance this month.
A surprise member of the Nationals’ Opening Day roster, Uggla provided perhaps the season’s biggest hit when he launched a 3-run, ninth-inning homer April 28 in Atlanta to cap the largest comeback in club history. His production since then, though, has been minimal: In 41 games since May 1, he’s hitting .188 with two doubles, five RBI and a .535 OPS.
One of the most-popular players in the Nationals’ clubhouse, Uggla remains a trusted veteran resource for younger teammates. Given the timing of this DL stint, he would appear to be likely to return once rosters expand in September.
“I hope so,” he said. “It sucks that once you go on the DL, you’re down for two weeks or whatever. I wish it was sooner, but I’m going to try to do everything I can to be back by then. We’ll see how it goes and how I feel.”
This actually is the first time Uggla has ever landed on the DL with an injury in his 10-year career. He made one other stint following LASIK surgery.
In choosing to place Uggla on the DL, the Nationals are currently going with a 4-man bench and an 8-man bullpen. Manager Matt Williams said that could change at some point but will depend on how the pitching staff is used in coming days.
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