WASHINGTON (AP) -Washington Nationals starter Jason Simontacchi won't need surgery on his right elbow, opting instead to be get a second cortisone shot.
Simontacchi, one of seven Nationals pitchers on the disabled list, will be shut down for four-to-six days. On Friday he said it's important for him to return to the majors this season.
``I ain't here to freaking sit here and pick up paychecks and be nobody on this team. I'm not here for that. I want to play. Yeah, I definitely want to get back as soon as I can,'' he said. ``With that being said, I also don't want to come back too soon and find out I'm done until whenever.''
The right-hander visited Dr. James Andrews in Alabama on Thursday and had an MRI exam on the elbow, which landed him on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 16.
``I've got peace of mind. ... It came back negative - just normal wear and tear,'' said Simontacchi, who is 6-7 with a 6.37 ERA in 13 starts in his first season in the majors since 2004.
Manager Manny Acta said Simontacchi eventually will head to the team's spring training complex in Viera, Fla., for what could be about two weeks of mound work. Three other injured Washington pitchers, John Patterson, Jason Bergmann and Jesus Colome, are headed to Florida.
Bergmann, sidelined by a hamstring injury, threw a bullpen session Friday ``with no problems,'' Acta said. The righty, 2-5 with a 4.56 ERA, is probably 10 to 15 days away from returning.
With starters such as Simontacchi, Bergmann and Shawn Hill - who'll make a second rehab start at Class-A Potomac on Saturday - returning, Washington will have to figure out who will be in the rotation over the season's closing weeks. The team will also be looking toward next season.
``We're going to have to take that into consideration,'' Acta said.
Matt Chico, who before the season never pitched above Double-A, is the only Washington pitcher to make every scheduled start this year. He is 5-6 with a 4.73 ERA. Mike Bacsik is 5-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 19 starts; Tim Redding went into his start against the Cardinals Friday night with a 2.64 ERA in five starts; and Joel Hanrahan and John Lannan have recently made their major league debuts.
Said general manager Jim Bowden: ``There's a lot of people competing right now.''

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