Viera, FL (Sports Network) - The Washington Nationals have placed right-handed starter Tony Armas Jr. on the 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain.
Armas, who has a Grade 1 groin pull, is eligible to come off the DL on April 12, but general manager Jim Bowden said he will most likely miss four starts.
"The injury affects the team, but you can't push a pitcher with a groin injury or you'll lose him for the whole year," said Bowden. "We have to get the groin right."
Armas, who finds himself on the DL for the fourth consecutive season, suffered the injury in the first inning of his start on Sunday against the New York Mets. Following the frame, Armas walked off the field under his own power but was taken out of the game and replaced by righthander John Patterson.
The 26-year-old hurler, who figures to be the No. 2 man in Washington's rotation, behind Livan Hernandez, took the news hard.
"Tony always takes it hard," said manager Frank Robinson. "He knows it's for the best. He's very eager to get out there, which I could understand, especially to go through what he did last year."
Last season, Armas made just 16 starts, going 2-4 with a 4.88 ERA. He has a career mark of 32-41 with a 4.21 ERA over six seasons.
A torn labrum in Armas' right shoulder limited him to five starts in 2003 and another shoulder injury did him in again for 2004. He also missed 23 days of the 2002 campaign with a strained lower back.