WASHINGTON -- Nationals reliever Chad Cordero is expected to miss four to six weeks because of a tear in his shoulder adductor. No surgery is needed.
Cordero had his third MRI on his right shoulder Wednesday, which revealed the tear in the adductor, but the actual shoulder is fine. He has been plagued with tendinitis for most of the month.
Cordero hurt the shoulder adductor in Tuesday's game against the Braves in the ninth inning. With runners on first and second, one out and the Nationals leading, 6-2, Cordero threw a 3-2 pitch to Kelly Johnson, who fouled it off. That's when Cordero felt the pain in the back of his shoulder. Cordero immediately called for head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz, and manager Manny Acta called reliever Jon Rauch into the game.
"I'm disappointed," Cordero said. "I guess it could be worse. I could be having surgery and I don't have to do that. Certain movements hurt worse than others. Last night ... it was hurting so bad, but I guess it will help having this long period off. Hopefully it will help the tendinitis, too. I hope to get everything stronger."
Cordero will be placed on the disabled list once the Nationals find out who they are going to call up from the Minor Leagues or activate from the disabled list. The team is not in a rush to make a move because the bullpen is fresh, according to general manager Jim Bowden. The team could activate catcher Paul Lo Duca or outfielder Elijah Dukes soon.
"Manny and I talked after the game, and the bullpen is pretty fresh and we have the off-day on Monday, so that's OK," Bowden said. "We have a couple of players on rehab that will be coming back soon. The question is, do we need a player before that? Don't know yet. We are kind of monitoring how they are doing. That might be a move.
"If we don't think they are quite ready, then we'll get someone here. We can do that tomorrow or the next day. It depends on how our game plays out and how our rehabilitation players play out."
It's not the first time Cordero has been disabled. He was placed on the DL on April 4 because of the tendinitis. Cordero was activated from the DL on April 12, but the shoulder was still weak and his fastball was clocked in the 70-mph range.
Cordero went to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., last week, and Andrews said there was no need for Cordero to be disabled again. Andrews suggested for Cordero to continue throwing and doing shoulder exercises.
"We want to get his arm strength completely back. That would be our preference," Bowden said. "It will give him time to build up the shoulder as the [shoulder adductor] is healing. Hopefully, he will get to be 100 percent for the second half of the season."
With Cordero, it means that Jon Rauch will be the closer, while Luis Ayala and Saul Rivera will be the setup men.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.