WASHINGTON (AP) -Nationals right-hander Jason Bergmann went on the 15-day disabled list with a swollen pitching elbow Friday, meaning four-fifths of the team's opening day rotation is sidelined by injury.
``They just don't want to make it worse. They don't want me to hurt something else trying to compensate,'' Bergmann said. ``I want to pitch. I want to be healthy. If taking a couple extra days off is the key to that, so be it.''
Bergmann (1-3, 2.76 ERA) complained of a sore elbow on Tuesday, a day after he threw a career-high 110 pitches while taking a no-hit bid into the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves.
Both he and manager Manny Acta said they don't expect Bergmann to be out longer than the minimum 15 days.
``It's not terribly serious, but we've got to do what's best for the kid,'' Acta said. ``Why push it? It's early in the year. We'd rather have him miss two starts this early than have him miss 10 or 15 later on. So we're just going to be careful with him.''
Bergmann joins fellow starters John Patterson, Shawn Hill and Jerome Williams on the disabled list.
``I know our staff's a little depleted right now, and I'd love to be there for the guys,'' Bergmann said. ``That's what's disappointing to me - I can't help the team out right now.''
The Nationals said they plan to select left-hander Mike Bacsik's contract from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday so he can start that night's game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Acta already had been forced to move Levale Speigner and Micah Bowie out of the bullpen and into the rotation to replace ailing starters.
``It's tough, but you have to deal with it,'' Acta said. ``It gives other guys an opportunity to pitch here.''
Bacsik went 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA at Columbus this season, with 28 strikeouts and six walks in 36 innings. He hasn't pitched in the majors since 2004.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the club moved right-handed reliever Luis Ayala, who missed all of 2006 after elbow surgery, from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list.

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