The Washington Nationals have placed star pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day DL because of a troublesome back strain, according to ESPN.

The 2009 number one overall draft pick is 3-5 with a 2.54 ERA this term after going 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA last season. 

Last year he was controversially shut down while his team still had a shot at the World Series because Strasburg had reached a team mandated innings limit on a player returning from elbow surgery.

And Strasburg sparked fears of another injury problem when he was unable to attend a scheduled bullpen session on Wednesday. Having been pulled after two innings in his last start on Friday, the Nationals are not taking any chances.

"There's still some tenderness and discomfort there," Nationals manager Davey Johnson told ESPN.

Strasburg was seen to be grimacing and testing out his shoulder while on the mound against the Atlanta Braves last Friday.

Johnson continued: "So we're going to keep him off the mound for a few more days."

Strasburg will be placed on the 15-day DL, retroactively dated back to last Sunday. The Nationals took the decision after the top-of-the-rotation pitcher failed to attend the bullpen session, instead playing catch. 

Johnson now has two pitchers on the DL as Ross Detwiler has been out of action since May 15 with a strained oblique muscle.

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