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Ryan Madson isn’t seeing progress in his sprained finger

Ryan Madson’s finger hasn’t gotten any better. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — When Ryan Madson played catch Saturday, he had no idea if he would feel the pain in his right index finger again. There was no way of knowing without throwing a baseball, which he hadn’t done since Monday. He and the Nationals were hopeful the idle time would generate some healing.

But Madson immediately realized it didn’t get any better. The pain in the top knuckle of his right index remained, and a frustrated Madson stopped throwing.

“It wasn’t good,” Madson said.

Madson was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with what was termed a sprained right finger. He first felt the pain when he played catch last Sunday. He thought nothing of it until he began warming up during the second game of Washington’s doubleheader against the Giants. The pain was there again and he didn’t know why. He tried throwing again Monday and nothing changed.

The plan was originally for Madson to throw again on Friday, but the club decided to give him an extra day. The additional 24 hours didn’t matter. Madson insisted there isn’t any structural damage in the finger, which makes the issue a bit perplexing to him. Now Madson said he expects to take a more proactive approach in the finger’s recovery, using machines to hasten the process.

Madson, 36, has been one of baseball’s dominant relievers since the Nationals acquired him and Sean Doolittle from the Athletics a month ago. Along with Doolittle and Brandon Kintzler, who was acquired from the Twins on July 31, Madson has helped fuel the Nationals bullpen’s turnaround as the club’s eighth-inning reliever. Since joining Washington, Madson has posted 13 strikeouts and one walk across nine scoreless innings.

On Friday, Madson guessed he would miss around two weeks, but that was without knowing how his finger would fare the next day. The Nationals, of course, can afford to take their time with Madson’s injury and all the others they’re dealing with. A 14-game division lead in late August provides that. The goal is to have the roster ready for October. But Madson’s absence is still unsettling.

“There’s never a good time,” Madson said.

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