Luis Atilano headed to disabled list

Nationals right-hander Luis Atilano will be placed on the disabled list because of a sore right elbow, according general manager Mike Rizzo.

Atilano had an MRI on the elbow Wednesday and has bone ships in the elbow. He will have a cortisone shot and try to rehab the elbow. Atilano said he has been pitching in pain for several weeks, but didn’t say anything until after his start Tuesday in which he allowed five runs in four innings against the Reds.

Atilano, who was scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Brewers, has a history of elbow problems. He had elbow reconstruction a few months before the Nationals acquired him from the Braves for outfielder Daryle Ward in 2006.

“There is soreness in the back of the elbow. I don’t even know what we are going to do yet,” Atilano said. “I want to pitch obviously. That’s why I took so long to say that my elbow was sore. It has been bothering me for  little while, but it got to the point where I couldn’t go on.”

Atilano acknowledged that he is frustrated by his latest injury because he worked so hard to get over his elbow surgery four years ago.

“I don’t know what it is now. It could be nothing. It could be inflammation, it could be whatever,” Atilano said. “It’s not that bad like when I had Tommy John surgery. That was really bad. I don’t have a bad pain now. It’s soreness.”

Atilano has pitched in 16 games for the  Nats and is 6-7 with a 5.15 ERA.

With Atilano out, Riggleman is not sure who the Nats will bring up. Riggleman didn’t rule out bringing up a reliever for a couple of days before needing a starter for Sunday’s game. It will depend on what happens in Thursday’s game against the Reds. If the Nats use a lot of relievers in the game against Cincinnati, the Nats will bring up a bullpen person.

As far as Sunday goes, the Nationals are considering left-handers John Lannan and Matt Chico to make the start against the Brewers.

Since being sent down to the Minor Leagues last month, Lannan has been up and down, going 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA.

Chico, who led the Nationals in most pitching categories in 2007, is 5-4 with a 3.55 ERA for Triple-A Syracuse.

Left-hander Ross Detwiler is also a candidate, but he pitched seven shutout innings, struck out seven hitters and walked one as Double-A Harrisburg blanked New Britain, 2-0, on Wednesday.

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