Armas, who has failed to make it out of the fourth inning in each of his last two starts, complained of some soreness following Monday's loss in Boston. The club looks at the MRI as strictly precautionary, but given his injury history, didn't want to take any chances.
Johnson was sent home to Washington on Tuesday to undergo an MRI on his strained lower back. Johnson hasn't played since Saturday, and his back hasn't gotten any better. He wasn't expected to return until Friday at the earliest, so the Nationals decided to have him checked out now and let him rest at home.
There also appears to be something wrong with Livan Hernandez. The Nationals only wish they knew what it was.
The ace right-hander suffered through one of the worst starts of his career Tuesday night, giving up six runs in just 1 2/3 innings. It matched the shortest outing of his career.
Hernandez is now 5-8 with a 5.64 ERA, leaving everyone scrambling to figure out what's wrong with him. Pitching coach Randy St. Claire noted that Hernandez's fastball was barely exceeding 80 mph, perhaps an indication that Hernandez is injured.
"It's very difficult to pitch in that velocity," St. Claire said. "There's maybe two guys in major league baseball, left-handers, who are doing that. It's very difficult for a right-hander to do that."
Hernandez, who underwent right knee surgery last winter, insists that he feels fine. He also believes he has enough time to turn his season back around.