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Washington Nationals reliever Daniel Hudson on paternity leave as NL Championship Series kicks off

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Washington Nationals relief pitcher Daniel Hudson (44) and catcher Kurt Suzuki celebrate the final of Game 4 of a baseball National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. Hudson will miss Game 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals today because his wife gave birth. Suzuki, who was injured in Game 5 against the Dodgers, is not on today’s starting lineup.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Washington Nationals relief pitcher Daniel Hudson (44) and catcher Kurt Suzuki celebrate the final of Game 4 of a baseball National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. Hudson will miss Game 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals today because his wife gave birth. Suzuki, who was injured in Game 5 against the Dodgers, is not on today’s starting lineup.

ST. LOUIS >> The Washington Nationals were without one of their top relievers for the start of the NL Championship Series after Daniel Hudson was placed on the postseason paternity list.

Hudson and his wife welcomed a baby girl today. Nationals manager Dave Martinez said everyone is healthy.

“He’s going to try to get back here possibly tomorrow,” Martinez said. “But for me, I told him, I said, ‘Hey, family is always first.’ I get it. I understand. The timing didn’t work out like we thought. Baby wasn’t ready to come out, so we get him back when we get him back.”

Right-hander Wander Suero will be on Washington’s active roster against St. Louis until Hudson returns. Hudson, who has two saves and a win during the playoffs, is permitted to be away from the team for a minimum of one day and a maximum of three days. When he rejoins the Nationals, he will take Suero’s spot.

Major League Baseball approved the roster substitution and announced it today, hours before Game 1 in the best-of-seven series at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals went with 12 pitchers and the same roster they used in the Division Series against Atlanta.

Hudson’s absence weakens a shaky Washington bullpen that had the worst ERA in the National League at 5.66. The right-hander went 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA and six saves in 24 regular-season appearances after he was acquired from Toronto at the July 31 trade deadline. He has pitched in four playoff games this month against the Brewers and Dodgers, throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts.

Hunter Strickland didn’t make Washington’s NLCS roster after he allowed four runs and four hits in two innings during the Division Series against Los Angeles. Roenis Elias and Javy Guerra were active for the matchup with the Cardinals.

Elías “gives us another lefty in the bullpen, which is kind of nice,” Martinez said. “And, yeah, he’ll be used. Remember, he’s a guy that, not only against lefties, but he’s had pretty good success against right-handed hitters as well in his career, so I like having another lefty in the bullpen.”

Suero was 6-9 with a 4.54 ERA and one save in 78 games this season. He made one appearance in the NLDS, getting one out but giving up a run and two hits.

Washington put 11 pitchers on its 25-man NLCS roster.

Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki and center fielder Victor Robles were active after both got injured against the Dodgers, but they were out of the starting lineup for Game 1 against the Cardinals.

Robles is coming back from a strained right hamstring. Martinez said Robles is about 80 to 85 percent.

“To me it’s worth him missing another day or two to get him fully back, hopefully,” he said.

Suzuki, an alumnus of Baldwin High on Maui, was undergoing more tests after he exited Washington’s Game 5 victory at Los Angeles on Wednesday night with a head injury.

Michael A. Taylor replaced Robles in center for the NLCS opener, and Yan Gomes was behind the plate.

The only notable exclusions for St. Louis again were right-handers Michael Wacha and John Gant. Wacha is recovering from a strained shoulder. Gant went 11-1 with a 3.66 ERA this year, but the reliever struggled down the stretch.

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