Pudge out for next several days with back pain

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pudge throwing.jpgNationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez was lifted from Saturday night’s game against the Orioles due to what the club called “back trouble.”  This morning the Nats’ medical team reached a slightly better diagnosis, according to the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore.

Pudge has “tenderness” in his lower back and will miss the next several games in the hope that rest will cure the ailment.  Wil Nieves filled in for him on Saturday and is probably going to start behind the plate for the majority of Washington’s upcoming three-game set with the Giants.

The veteran Rodriguez is batting an impressive .325/.351/.439 this season with one home run, 16 RBI and two stolen bases in 123 at-bats.  Nieves, meanwhile, is 11-for-54 (.204) in limited action.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.