Burnett has elbow tightness, but Nats optimistic

Burnett has elbow tightness, but Nats optimistic

MIAMI -- Sean Burnett wasn't available out of the bullpen for the Nationals on Saturday due to tightness in his throwing elbow, but Nationals manager Davey Johnson expects the southpaw to be ready to go Sunday.

Burnett felt tightness in his left elbow following his appearance in Friday night's 5-1 win over the Marlins. The lefty threw one-third of an inning in relief, striking out the only batter he faced.

Johnson was originally concerned early Saturday that the tightness could land Burnett on the disabled list, but after Burnett played catch prior to Washington's 2-1 loss to Miami, Johnson sounded optimistic about the lefty's status.

"I think he'll be available [Sunday]," Johnson said. "That's my gut feeling."

Following the game, Johnson said team doctors prescribed medication to Burnett to help ease the tightness and inflammation in his elbow. That medication, Johnson hopes, will prevent the team from having to place Burnett on the DL.

"He should be fine," Johnson said. "Fortunately we didn't need him [Saturday]."

Burnett, who had Tommy John surgery early in his career, said he has dealt with some minor issues with his elbow this season, but hopes the current hitch is just "random tightness." The lefty has been valuable for the Nationals out of the bullpen, sporting a 1.97 ERA in 39 appearances this season as the club's setup man.

"Hopefully there is no story," Burnett said before the game. "That's the key."