Doolittle was diagnosed with an oblique strain and placed on the 10-day injured list Friday, Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic reports. Doolittle doesn't have a precise timeline for his return, but with just 16 days left in the regular season, his chances of returning before the end of the campaign appear slim. The former closer didn't record a single save this season and struggled to a 5.87 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in 7.2 innings of work.
Doolittle exited Thursday's game against Atlanta after suffering a right oblique injury in the ninth inning, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports. Doolittle entered to start the ninth, but exited after retiring Nick Markakis for the first out. The southpaw appeared to be motioning toward his oblique area as he called for trainers to come check on him. Manager Dave Martinez confirmed after the contest that it is indeed an oblique issue and that Doolittle will undergo further examination before the extent of the injury is determined. It will be unfortunate timing should the reliever be forced to miss an extended period, as he has tallied six consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run since returning from a knee injury Aug. 26.
Doolittle struck out two in a perfect eighth inning during Monday's loss to the Phillies. The southpaw entered the game with the Nats down 8-4, and he was able to get Didi Gregorius and Jay Bruce to swing through fastballs for his first two punchouts since coming off the injured list last week. It's been a tough season for Doolittle, and while the results Monday were encouraging, his heater topped out at 91.1 mph -- well below last year's 93.5 mph average. Unless he proves he can consistently get outs with reduced velocity, the 33-year-old is unlikely to work his way back into a share of the closer role.
Doolittle (knee) was activated from the injured list Wednesday, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports. Doolittle has been cleared to rejoin the Nationals after spending around two weeks on the shelf with right knee inflammation. The southpaw struggled before landing on the injured list, so he'll likely be eased back into a setup role. Carter Kieboom was sent to Washington's satellite camp in a corresponding move.
Doolittle (knee) threw 24 pitches in a simulated game Friday at the Nationals' alternate training site, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports. According to manager Dave Martinez, the southpaw "felt pretty good" afterwards. Doolittle is making progress, but there's still no timetable for his return to the bullpen.
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