Erik Davis (Alex Brandon/Associated Press) Erik Davis (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

The Nationals placed right-handed reliever Erik Davis, who likely would have started the season at Class AAA Syracuse, on the 60-day disabled list with a right elbow strain. The Nationals’ move allowed room for new backup catcher Jose Lobaton on their 40-man roster.

Davis, 27, made his major league debut last year and posted a 3.12 ERA over 10 appearances, striking out 12 in 8 2/3 innings. He has no known prior history with arm injuries.

Davis complained to the Nationals of soreness in his elbow shortly after he began his usual throwing program in early January, General Manager Mike Rizzo said. The Nationals flew Davis to Washington for an exam and placed him on a two-to-four week shutdown.

When Davis arrived in Viera and began throwing, the soreness had not dissipated. There is no surgery planned, Rizzo said, but Davis will not throw for six to eight weeks as the elbow strain heals.