Last night Jim Riggleman announced that Scott Olsen will miss his next start with soreness in his latissimus dorsi, the large muscle that runs behind your shoulder blade and down the side of your torso.
This should be a no-brainer. A sore lat is in itself not a terrible injury. Assuming there isn't some other hidden injury, Olsen should be able rest and get back to full strength in a matter of weeks.
But trying to pitch through a mild lat problem can put additional strain on other parts of the shoulder and lead to much more serious injuries.
Case in point: Chad Cordero. He started with a lat strain, pitched through it, and ended up with one of the worst injuries a pitcher can have: a torn labrum. These "cascading" injuries are almost always preventable.
I've had worries about the Nationals' injury prevention this season. Josh Bard clearly shouldn't be playing. Nick Johnson ought to be getting more rest than he is. We keep hearing about how "old school" new pitching coach Steve McCatty is. And I can't imagine how Willie Harris was allowed to take the field without an athletic cup.
New trainer Lee Kuntz is making the right decision here. Hopefully it's the start of a slightly more cautious trend. They haven't gotten bitten yet, but they will if they take risks like this too often.