“I’ve never experienced this kind of injury,” Rodriguez said. “It’s never happened to me. See what happens tomorrow. If tomorrow is not better, we need a catcher. But let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

Rodriguez, 39, received at least five treatments of ice during the Nationals’ 10-9 loss to the Cubs and took pills given to him by the Nationals’ training staff. Afterward, Rodriguez struggled to pull on his button-up shirt.

“Not good,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “It’s a strained oblique. I’m concerned about that. We’re going to look at him again tomorrow. He obviously doesn’t want to be down and he doesn’t want to go on the DL.”

During batting practice, Rodriguez felt the strain in his oblique, a muscle on the side of the torso, and immediately walked off the field. “He left the cage, went in, started tearing up things and took off his uniform,” Johnson said.

The Nationals scratched Rodriguez, who has played once every three games under Johnson, and Wilson Ramos took his place.

“It’s disappointing,” Rodriguez said. “I’m always ready to play. I was fine. In batting practice, it just happened.”

If Rodriguez misses time on the disabled, he would likely be replaced by Jesus Flores, who is the primary catcher at Class AAA Syracuse. Flores is hitting .234/.252/.378. Before injuries derailed his career in 2009, Flores had become the Nationals’ everyday catcher and a promising piece of their future.

A long-term injury would stifle Rodriguez’s quest to become the first catcher to reach 3,000 hits. Rodriguez, who has 25 hits in 117 at-bats this season, needs 158 more hits for 3,000.