Bergmann Will Skip Start With A Sore Elbow

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 18, 2007

The Washington Nationals' starting rotation, already in disarray with three members on the disabled list, was thrown into further upheaval last night with the news that Jason Bergmann will miss his scheduled start Saturday because of soreness in his right elbow.

Bergmann, who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of Monday's 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves, had an MRI exam on his elbow yesterday. The results were negative, and club officials officially listed him as "day-to-day." But General Manager Jim Bowden said in an e-mail last night, "He will miss one start."

Bergmann said in a phone interview last night that he woke up after his start "a little stiff and sore." He stressed that the MRI was "precautionary."

"I would be able to go out and start," he said, "but it might not be the best thing for later in the season."

The candidates to take Bergmann's place are few. Reliever Levale Speigner started Wednesday in place of Shawn Hill (left shoulder), and reliever Micah Bowie is scheduled to start Sunday in place of Jerome Williams (right shoulder). Lefty Billy Traber made two starts this month for Class AAA Columbus, but he pitched an inning Wednesday and another yesterday. If the Nationals wanted to use a minor leaguer, someone else would have to be demoted.

Cordero Is Still the Closer

Though Jon Rauch closed yesterday's win, Chad Cordero -- who returned from bereavement leave to deal with the failing health of his late grandmother Monday -- will be back in the role tonight. All parties seemed on board with the transition, even after Rauch saved all three of his chances.

"It's his job," Rauch said. "He's earned it."

Cordero, who worked a pair of hitless innings during the Atlanta series, said he appreciated Manager Manny Acta's endorsement.

"It's a huge boost," Cordero said. "It'd be tougher if he said, 'Well, just stay in the setup role.' That'd be really tough. For him to stick with me even though I've had some problems, that says a lot."

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