Notes: O'Connor's elbow ailing him

Nationals notes: O'Connor's elbow ailing

LOS ANGELES -- A couple of hours after learning that he was going to be sent down to Triple-A New Orleans, left-hander Mike O'Connor informed the Nationals that he has pain in his pitching elbow, requiring an MRI sometime this week.

"It has bothered me for a little while and I just didn't say anything. I want to make sure that they knew that," O'Connor said.

The news comes after O'Connor gave up seven runs in four-plus innings against the Dodgers on Saturday afternoon. O'Connor has given up 22 runs in his last 15 1/3 innings. His ERA has climbed from 3.39 to 5.12.

Before knowing about the injury, the organization felt it would be best for O'Connor to learn his craft in the Minors instead of working out of the bullpen. The Nationals have two off-days on Aug. 3 and Aug. 7, and O'Connor would have been skipped, with a spot not available to start a game until Aug. 12.

Manager Frank Robinson was not happy to hear that O'Connor was playing with the injury for several starts.

"He was being judged by being sound when he went out there," Robinson said. "He said he wasn't. That's why I'm upset, because he wasn't given the benefit of the doubt. He didn't, at least, tell me or tell the medical staff and get treatment for it."

To replace O'Connor, the Nationals are expected to recall right-handed pitcher Ryan Wagner from New Orleans. Wagner is expected to work out of the bullpen for Washington.

Wagner was acquired from the Reds along with Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez on July 13. Wagner was drafted in the first round of the First-Year Player Draft by general manager Jim Bowden in 2003. Wagner went straight to the Minor Leagues after the trade to fix his mechanics. He has pitched in six games for the Nationals and has given up four runs in nine innings.

Robinson was given a choice of Wagner and Jason Bergmann and told Bowden that he would take Wagner.

"I asked him who was available down there," Robinson said. "[Kevin] Gryboski hasn't been [in the Minor Leagues] for 10 days, Bergmann is down there, and then there's Wagner, and I asked him, 'What about Wagner?' [Bowden] said, 'He is OK. He's throwing the ball well.'"

Injury report: Catcher Brian Schneider left Sunday's game in the top of the fourth inning with a lower back strain on the right side. He is listed as day-to-day. Schneider hurt his back trying to block a ball in the first inning.

"It felt like a cramp and tightened up. The umpire gave me a second just to relax," said Schneider. "I thought I would be fine. I went back out there in the second and it tightened up a little more. ... I didn't know how bad it would continue to get, so that's when I came out."

Trade rumors: The Astros have interest in left fielder Alfonso Soriano. In fact, Houston has had interest in him ever since he was a member of the Yankees five years ago. However, the Astros feel they are a long shot to acquire Soriano's services because they are not willing to give up top prospects for Soriano.

The Astros reportedly are shopping shortstop Adam Everett, third baseman Morgan Ensberg and outfielder Preston Wilson.

Be a part of the mailbag: The Nationals mailbag returns Monday. Send in your questions now.

Stats of the day: Entering Sunday's action, Lopez is 12-for-30 (.400) in his last eight games after going 2-for-25 (.080) with an RBI in his first six games with the Nationals.

Did you know: Marlon Anderson and Daryle Ward rank second in the Major Leagues with 11 pinch-hits. Phillies outfielder David Dellucci leads the Majors with 15 pinch-hits.

Coming up: The Nationals travel to San Francisco to play a three-game series against the Giants, starting Monday night at 10:15 ET. The last time these two teams met was last week at Robert F. Kennedy, with Washington sweeping the series.

Right-hander Pedro Astacio will get the start for Washington, while left-hander Noah Lowry will get the nod for Los Angeles.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.