“I’m checking with these guys every day, making sure we’re all on the same page,” Ankiel said. “But nobody has a crystal ball, so you never know.”

The intercostal strain can lead to significant time missed – that’s what forced Ryan Zimmerman to miss the final 10 games of last year. But Manager Jim Riggleman said Ankiel did not severely strain his muscle.

“He did a smart thing getting out of the game as quickly as he did,” Riggleman said. “Hopefully that precaution there will mean he nixed this thing before it became a problem. … I don’t want to say it’s DL, because I haven’t spoken to the trainer. That’s where other people have gone [with the injury]. I think those other guys swung the bat and really hurt themselves. Rick felt a little something and realized, ‘I’m not going to be able to swing the bat tonight.’ Hopefully, we caught it before he did anything.’ ”

Ankiel missed three weeks earlier this year after he sprained his wrist trying to make a diving catch in center field. He said it’s frustrating to deal with another injury, “but we’re playing well, so that’s all that matters.”